By Holly Matkin and Sandy Malone
Washington, DC – President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he will sign a multifaceted executive order instituting new gun control measures aimed at reducing gun violence in the wake of a spate of recent mass shootings.
President Biden said he has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland “to prioritize” gun violence which he said has become “a public health crisis” in the United States.
He further claimed that gun violence costs American taxpayers $280 billion per year, and said stripping gun manufacturers of liability protection will be among his top priorities, CNN reported.
“For a fraction of the cost of gun violence, we can save lives, create safe and healthy communities, and build economies that work for all of us,” President Biden quipped.
The President called for an all-out “ban” on all “assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”
“We should also ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country,” he declared. “For that 10 years we had it done, the number of mass shootings actually went down.”
“Even law enforcement officials have told me and other champions of this legislation that they sometimes feel outgunned by assault weapons with large capacity magazines,” he claimed. “There’s no reason someone needs a weapon of war with 100 rounds – 100 bullets – that can be fired from this weapon. Nobody needs that. Nobody needs that.”
He said banning such weapons and magazines has been a “hobby horse” of his for a long time.
President Biden said he will close the “Charleston loophole” and that he will require buyers to undergo background checks at gun shows.
President Biden claimed that Second Amendment advocates wouldn’t be able to put a stop to his gun control initiatives because “nothing, nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment.”
“They’re phony arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about,” the President continued. “But no amendment, no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.”
President Biden used the example of yelling “fire” a crowded theater not being covered by the First Amendment.
“The idea is bizarre to just suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution,” Biden insisted. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic.”
“Gun violence in this county is an epidemic and an international embarrassment,” he said again.
President Biden referred to a shooting that took place in Rock Hill, South Carolina on Wednesday night.
Five people, including a prominent doctor and two young children, were killed in the attack, the Associated Press reported.
The alleged shooter, former National Football League player Phillip Adams, fatally shot himself during a standoff with police early Thursday morning.
President Biden also announced Thursday that he has nominated gun-control advocate David Chipman at the next Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) director, CNN reported.
Biden said he has instructed Garland to take immediate steps to “curb the epidemic” of shootings that have occurred throughout the nation.
Garland announced Thursday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will take a five-pronged approach to reduce the risk of gun violence, according to CNN.
The department will measure the severity of gun trafficking using data-driven methods, and will work to close the regulatory loophole that has resulted in so-called “ghost guns,” he said.
“Anyone from a criminal to a terrorist can buy this [gun manufacturing] kit [and in] as little as 30 minutes put together a weapon,” President Biden said. “I want to see these kits treated as firearms.”
The DOJ will also make it clear that adding certain stabilizing braces to certain pistols will make them subject to statutory restrictions pertaining to short-barreled rifles, CNN reported.
The department has 60 days to issue a proposed rule as to when a device effectively morphs a pistol into a “short-barreled rifle” under the National Firearms Act.
Over $1 billion in federal funding will be made available through grant programs to help communities to fight back against gun violence, Garland said.
The DOJ will also publish model “red flag” legislation for states within the next 60 days.
“I am under no illusions about how hard it is to solve the problem of gun violence,” Garland told reporters outside the White House. “And I know that the Department of Justice alone cannot solve the problem. It is a problem that we must all work on together in the collective effort to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and save lives.”