Joe Biden may regulate ‘ghost guns’ in move on firearms control

Joe Biden is considering regulating so-called ghost guns as part of his firearms safety policies but some progressives are upset the president hasn’t done enough in his first month in office.

Biden has signed several executive orders since taking office but gun policy hasn’t been a part of them.

Now the president is considering executive action that would require buyers of ‘ghost guns’ – homemade or makeshift firearms that lack serial numbers – to undergo background checks, three people who have spoken to the White House told Politico.

The White House has stepped up its outreach to gun control advocates amid frustration from that group about the lack of action.

Domestic policy adviser Susan Rice and White House public engagement director Cedric Richmond met virtually with the groups two weeks ago.

And allies on Capitol Hill are putting the pressure on the White House to act.

President Joe Biden is requiring background checks for purchases of ghost guns – homemade fire arms or guns without serial numbers

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal told Politico he spoke to the White House about executive orders to close the ‘Charleston loophole,’ which allows a gun to be transferred from licensed gun dealers before a completed background check.

But the White House wants to close that via legislation along with using Congress to establishing safety storage standards for firearms.

‘My view is the bigger and bolder the better on gun violence prevention because we have a unique window of opportunity,’ Blumenthal said.

The gun control issue returned to the forefront this month with the third anniversary of the Parkland massacre, a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead.

A Gallup poll this past fall found that 57% of Americans want stricter gun laws, 9% less strict and 34% want them to remain the same. But that level of support for stricter laws is at a four year low and gun sells have gone up during the pandemic.

Biden, as a presidential candidate, offered a plan to offer legislation to again ban assault weapons, seek background check legislation, and provide more resources to enforce current law.

But, last week, the White House walked back Biden’s push for gun control legislation, calling it the president’s ‘personal’ priority but saying there is no package ready for Congress.

‘He has not afraid of standing up to the NRA. He has done it multiple times,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of Biden.

But, she noted, there is no timeline of changing gun laws.

‘It is a priority to him on a personal level, but I don’t have a, a prediction for you, or a preview for you on a timeline of a package, and certainly not what it will look like and how it goes through Congress,’ she added at her daily press briefing.

Last Sunday, Biden used the three year anniversary of the Parkland shooting in Florida to call on Congress to strengthen gun laws, including requiring background checks on all gun sales and banning assault weapons.

‘We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now,’ he said in a statement.

President Joe Biden has signed several executive orders since taking office but gun policy hasn't been a part of them - progressives are upset at lack of progress

President Joe Biden has signed several executive orders since taking office but gun policy hasn’t been a part of them – progressives are upset at lack of progress

President Biden called for stronger gun control legislation on the third anniversary of Parkland shooting; above mourners at the funeral of Alyssa Alhadeff, who died in the Parkland massacre in 2018

President Biden called for stronger gun control legislation on the third anniversary of Parkland shooting; above mourners at the funeral of Alyssa Alhadeff, who died in the Parkland massacre in 2018

The Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead, the latest school shooting that shook America including the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 that claimed 32 lives and the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

It’s unclear what steps Congress could or would take even with Democratic control. Opposition to gun control remains fierce among advocates for the second amendment.

Any legislation would likely need to win 60 votes in the Senate, which currently has a 50-50 split. It’s unclear if the support is there.

But Biden said action couldn’t wait.

‘This administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call,’ the president said.

The confessed school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who was 19 at the time, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and fired between 100 and 150 rounds in a rampage that killed 14 students and three adult staff at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Cruz is still awaiting trial.

Biden said Congress must also eliminate ‘immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.’

Cruz was able to buy the assault rifle legally, despite having known mental health problems.

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