The Biden-Harris Administration announced six initial actions to address what they referred to as “the gun violence public health epidemic” on Thursday, citing recent high-profile mass shootings in Boulder and Atlanta.
The administration went on to discuss the “historic spike in homicides… violence that disproportionately impacts Black and brown Americans,” which have been largely attributed to defunding of police departments nationwide and the emboldening of criminals by BLM and Antifa since the unrest last summer across the country.
Vice President Kamala Harris as a candidate, contributed to the unrest by advocating for The Minnesota Freedom Fund which posted bail for rioters in Minnesota including Thomas Moseley. According to Fox News, Moseley had been arrested and released in cases involving allegations that included damaging a police precinct in August and rioting in December. He was arrested again on Jan. 27, just 22 days after his latest release and ironically, was suspected of trying to illegally purchase a gun.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 1, 2020
The White House said that “President Biden is reiterating his call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence” but also stated that “this Administration will not wait for Congress to act to take its own steps – fully within the Administration’s authority and the Second Amendment – to save lives.”
The administration announced six initial actions to curb gun violence.
They called on Congress to close loopholes in the gun background check system. including “boyfriend” and stalking loopholes that “currently allow people found by the courts to be abusers to possess firearms, banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and investing in evidence-based community violence interventions.” Additionally they called for Congress to pass “an appropriate national ‘red flag’ law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass ‘red flag’ laws of their own.”
The administration stated that the Justice Department, within 30 days, “will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of ‘ghost guns,'” kits which contain “nearly all of the components and directions for finishing a firearm within as little as 30 minutes and using these firearms to commit crimes which often cannot be traced by law enforcement due to the lack of a serial number.”
Additionally, the Justice Department, within 60 days, “will issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”
The Justice Department was also tasked with publishing a model for ‘red flag’ legislation for individual states within 60 days which would “allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.” The President also stated there would be “legislation incentivizing” to states to pass “red flag” laws of their own but did not specify what those incentives would be.
The administration also asked that the Justice Department’s published model legislation “will make it easier for states that want to adopt red flag laws to do so” but did not specify how that would be achieved.
The Biden-Harris administration also listed a number of steps to “prioritize investment in community violence interventions.” The steps included $5 billion from the recently proposed $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, or infrastructure plan, over eight years to support community violence intervention programs.
They also tasked the US Department of Health and Human Services to organize a webinar and toolkit to educate states on how they can use Medicaid to reimburse certain community violence intervention programs, specifying the Hospital-Based Violence Interventions.
Additionally the administration stated that five federal agencies would make changes to 26 different programs to direct support to community violence intervention programs and asked for Congress to appropriate additional funds.
The announcement concluded by stating that the President will nominate David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Though the administration claimed to be seeking evidence-based community violence interventions, it made only passing mention of suicide by firearm the leading type of gun death in the United States.