President Joe Biden on Thursday called US gun violence an “epidemic” and “international embarrassment” during a White House ceremony to unveil his first attempt to bring the problem under control.
“It’s an epidemic, for god’s sake, and it must end,” he said, calling the shootings a “public health crisis.”
“It’s an international disgrace,” the Democrat, accompanied by Attorney General Merrick Garland and Vice President Kamala Harris, told members of Congress and gun control activists in the rose garden.
“Enough prayers,” Biden said. “It’s time to take action.”
With Congress unable to agree on general new regulations, such as stricter background checks for gun buyers, Biden announced six executive steps he said would help ease the crisis. Republicans immediately attacked the proposal, with the party’s top House leader Kevin McCarthy warning of “unconstitutional overbreadth.”
In addition to relatively modest steps on the politically hyper-sensitive issue, Biden used his Rose Garden speech to announce the appointment of David Chipman, a gun control supporter and former law enforcement officer, to the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. and explosives.
Reflecting the lack of unity in Washington around anything to do with gun restrictions, the ATF – a key agency in the fight against gun violence – has not had a director confirmed by the Senate since 2015.
Biden’s six measures included a proposed rule to “stop the proliferation of phantom weapons,” as firearms made from home kits are known. The White House says these homemade weapons are of particular concern because they do not have a serial number and cannot be traced after being used in crimes.
Another proposed rule will be to tighten regulations on arm braces designed to stabilize pistols, a device used by the man that killed 10 people at a Colorado grocery store last month. Under the rule, sling guns would be classified as short-barreled rifles, which would put them under tighter control.
Other actions include strengthening support for agencies involved in addressing community violence and commissioning the first comprehensive report on gun trafficking in the United States since 2000.
Almost 40,000 Americans die from shootings each year.
While mass shootings like the recent murders in Colorado, Georgia and California attract the most attention, more than half of the annual death toll is due to suicide.
Biden: ban “assault weapons”
Biden said his proposals were just the beginning and urged Congress to take far-reaching action, like adding background checks and ending the sale of powerful guns often used in massacres.
“I know the gun conversation in this country can be difficult. But even here there is a lot more in common than anyone would believe,” he said.
“The idea that so many people are dying every day as a result of gun violence in America is a stain on our character as a nation.”
Despite Biden’s appeal, there is fierce opposition to the ban on powerful weapons like the AR-15, a semi-automatic resembling the US military M16 rifle.
It has become notorious both as the tool of choice in many mass shootings and as an extremely popular item for sport shooters and legal firearms enthusiasts.
Biden successfully supported a ban on assault weapons in 1994 while he was a senator. However, the law expired a decade later and has never been renewed, with Republicans increasingly opposing what they describe as an attack on the more than two centuries old constitutional right of the citizens of have weapons.
“President Biden’s executive actions today do two things: appease the far left and infringe on the right to bear arms of our Second Amendment,” Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt tweeted, echoing the skepticism of many Republicans.
“They want to take your guns,” said fellow Republican lawmaker Jim Jordan of Ohio.
McCarthy pledged his party “will firmly oppose and pursue all options – whether legislative or judicial – to protect the right to keep and bear arms.”
In March, after the Colorado shooting, Biden said he wanted Congress to adopt “common sense measures” to restrict guns. But asked if he could get enough votes, he replied, “I don’t know.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)