President Joe Biden is bypassing Congress and using the weight of his office through executive order to advance several gun control measures.
During Thursday’s briefing from the White House, Biden outlined what he wants to achieve.
Biden says the executive orders will require the Justice Department (DOJ) to propose a rule to stop “ghost guns,” within a month. “Ghost guns” are kits that can be assembled to create a firearm. They are pretty much untraceable because they do not have serial numbers.
The DOJ will be busy because President Biden is asking the agency to propose a rule within 60 days on braces used for handguns and to publish suggestions for “red flag” legislation.
He is requesting a report from his administration on gun trafficking and wants to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He said, “In this country, there’s no reason a person would need a weapon that can hold one hundred rounds.”
Biden’s actions follow two mass shootings last month. One in Atlanta, GA, and one in Boulder, CO, which claimed the lives of 18 people.
During the briefing, he addressed arguments from Republicans that the orders will infringe on Second Amendment rights. “They’re phony arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake in what we’re talking about. But no amendment, no amendment in the Constitution, is absolute. You can’t yell “fire” in a crowded movie theatre and call it freedom of speech. From the very beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. From the very beginning the Second Amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have certain weapons.”
In addition to the executive orders, the administration is expected to get behind additional gun control proposals in Congress.
HR 127, authored by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas is still in play. The “Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act” was referred in March to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
The legislation states:
This bill establishes a process for the licensing and registration of firearms. It also prohibits the possession of certain ammunition and large capacity ammunition feeding devices.
First, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives must establish (1) a licensing system for the possession of firearms or ammunition, and (2) a registration system for firearms.
In addition, the Department of Justice (DOJ) must establish and maintain a publicly available database of all registered firearms.
Next, the bill creates licensing requirements for the possession of a firearm and ammunition. DOJ shall issue such a license if the individual is 21 years of age or older, undergoes a criminal background check and psychological evaluation, completes a certified training course, and has an insurance policy. It also outlines the circumstances under which DOJ must deny a license (e.g., the individual was hospitalized with a mental illness).
It also establishes additional requirements for an antique firearm display license and a military-style weapons license.
The bill generally prohibits and penalizes the possession of a firearm or ammunition unless the individual complies with licensing and registration requirements. Further, it prohibits the transfer of a firearm or ammunition to an unlicensed person.
Finally, it generally prohibits and penalizes (1) the possession of ammunition that is 0.50 caliber or greater, and (2) the possession of a large capacity ammunition feed device.
Mississippi Congressman Michael Guest addressed the legislation by stating, “H.R. 127 was introduced on January 4, 2021, and referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. If H.R. 127 is considered for a vote by the House of Representatives, I will oppose the legislation, and I do not believe it is likely to become law. This partisan bill would provide for the licensing of firearm and ammunition possession and the registration of firearms and would prohibit the possession of certain ammunition.”
Guest said, “I am an original cosponsor of the Gun Owner Registration Information Protection (GRIP) Act, which would prohibit the use of Federal funding to establish state gun-owner databases. As a lifelong conservative Republican, I believe in our Second Amendment rights and all other individual liberties guaranteed to us by the Constitution. I have always voted in favor of the Second Amendment, and I feel it is my duty to continue to protect it.
Mississippi U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar introduced the GRIP Act in March.
Hyde-Smith said, “The fight to protect Second Amendment rights is unending. The GRIP Act would protect the rights and personal information of law-abiding citizens who own or purchase firearms legally. It would require adherence to the law that specifically says federal monies cannot be used to track or hassle gun owners.”
Biden said, “Today, we’re taking steps to confront, not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis.”
Republicans argue the executive orders will not keep criminals from obtaining guns.
“The right to keep and bear arms is fundamental for preserving our liberty,” said Senator Ted Cruz. “The answer is not to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, the answer is to go after violent criminals and come down on them like a ton of bricks.”