President Biden on Thursday announced a set of executive actions and legislative proposals on gun control, saying that gun violence is “a public health crisis” and that their actions do not violate Second Amendment rights.
The administration aims to “confront not just the gun crisis but what is actually a public health crisis,” Biden said in his remarks in the Rose Garden. He was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris.
“Nothing I’m about to recommend in any impinges on the Second Amendment,” Biden said. “These are phony arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about.”
Continuing, Biden said: “But no amendment to the Constitution is absolute … 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 weapons. So the idea is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution.”
BIDEN TO TARGET ‘GHOST GUNS,’ STABILIZING BRACES IN NEW GUN CONTROL ACTIONS
In attendance were several high-profile gun control activists, including Brady United President Kris Brown, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Arz., and Fred Guttenberg.
An administration official detailed the actions to reporters on Wednesday. Among them, Biden is asking the Justice Department (DOJ), within a month, propose a rule to stop “ghost guns,” which are “kits” people can buy legally then fully assemble to create a functioning firearm that does not have a serial number.
Biden is also asking the DOJ within 60 days to propose a rule on braces used for handguns, which make them more accurate; proposing action on “community violence intervention”; asking the DOJ to publish suggestions for “red flag” legislation; and having his administration issue a report on gun trafficking.
Biden also formally announced David Chipman as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
A senior administration official Wednesday said that Chipman will respect the Second Amendment while he enforces gun laws.
BIDEN TO NOMINATE GUN CONTROL BACKER DAVID CHIPMAN TO HEAD ATF: WH OFFICIAL
“I’ve seen with my own two lives what a bullet can do to the human body … and I’ve fought my entire career to fight this violence and to pass reasonable gun safety” measures,” Harris said as she introduced Biden.
“What are we waiting for? Cause we aren’t waiting or a tragedy… We’ve had more tragedy than we can bear,” she said. “The solutions exist… people on both sides of the aisle want action, real people … so all that is left is the will and the courage to act.”
The Biden administration is also expected to throw its weight behind gun control proposals in Congress.
Brady United, one of the highest-profile gun control groups in the U.S., billed Biden and Harris as “the strongest gun safety ticket in history” at an event last fall.
“President Biden’s actions are historic and they will have an immediate impact. These are tangible and powerful policies that will save lives,” Brady United President Kris Brown said of the president’s executive actions in a statement Wednesday.
Republicans, meanwhile, have expressed their suspicion of Biden’s agenda, which goes much further than the actions he is announcing Thursday. The president has said he supports an assaualt weapons ban, voluntary buybacks of assault weapons, wants to repeal a law that prevents gun manufacturers from being sued for crimes people commit with guns, and much more.
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“By appointing the anti-gun Merrick Garland as attorney general and nominating David Chipman — formerly a senior staffer at the leading gun control lobby — to head ATF, Biden has made clear his sights are set on restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners while ignoring criminals and foregoing substantive measures that will actually keep Americans safe,” the National Rifle Association (NRA) said in a statement.
“Further, the proposals Biden announced tonight could require law-abiding citizens to surrender lawful property and enable states to expand gun confiscation orders. The NRA will fight this nomination and ill-conceived executive actions,” the NRA also said.
Added House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “President Biden plans to announce his attempts to trample over our constitutional 2A rights by executive fiat. He is soft on crime, but infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens. I won’t stand for it. And neither will House Republicans. Follow the Constitution!”
Fox News’ Brittany De Lea, Sally Persons and Kristina Biddle contributed to this report.