The president of the United States, Joe Biden, described this Thursday as an “epidemic” the violence with firearms in his country, during a ceremony held at the White House to present the new measures that seek to prevent the spread of so-called “ghost weapons. ”, Untraceable.
“There is no reason anyone would need a 100-round magazine that can be fired from a gun. Nobody needs it, “said the Democratic president during a speech this morning. “This is an epidemic, for God’s sake, and it has to stop,” he said, also referring to the shootings as a “public health crisis.”
The president has come under pressure from his Democratic Party to act after the recent shootings in Colorado, Georgia and California.
In addition to action on this politically hypersensitive issue, Biden will use his speech at the White House Rose Garden to appoint David Chipman, a gun control advocate, as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( ATF), a key agency in the fight against gun violence.
Reflecting the lack of political unity around firearm restrictions, the ATF has not had a Senate-confirmed director since 2015.
Chipman is an agency veteran who later worked for a gun control advocacy group and there is no one “better at enforcing gun laws,” said a senior government official.
“Historic Peak of Homicides”
It highlights a new regulation proposed to “stop the proliferation of ghost weapons”, as firearms built in a homemade way and that do not have serial numbers are known.
The official said these weapons are of particular concern because when found at crime scenes “they cannot be traced.”
Another rule will toughen regulations on arm supports made to stabilize pistols, a device used by the man who killed 10 people in Colorado last month. Under the standard, pistols with mounts would be classified as short-barreled rifles, which would put them under tighter control.
Other measures include increasing support for agencies that fight violence and commissioning the first comprehensive report since 2000 on firearms trafficking in the United States.
Last year, firearms killed more than 43,000 people in the country, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website. The organization registered 611 “mass shootings”, defined as those that leave at least four victims, in 2020, against 417 the previous year.
“Gun violence takes lives and leaves a lasting legacy of trauma within communities every day in this country,” the White House said in a statement.
“In fact, cities across the country are in the midst of a historic homicide spike, violence that disproportionately affects black and brown Americans. The president has pledged to take steps to reduce all forms of firearm violence, ”the statement added.
However, no major steps to toughen laws limiting access to guns, such as increased background checks, are not expected to be announced.
The official stressed that the provisions to be announced by Biden – together with the attorney general, Merrick Garland – are only the “first” steps. These will be Executive actions and not laws that require the vote of Congress.
“There’s a lot more to do … but these are really important steps,” White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield tweeted.
Biden has long vowed a heavy hand against America’s gun culture, which he says fuels an epidemic of mass shootings, as well as the daily flow of crime and suicide.
The Democrat is in favor of a stricter background check for buyers of firearms and a ban on military-type rifles, such as the AR-15. Both ideas face stiff resistance in Congress.
The AR-15, a semi-automatic resembling the iconic M16 military rifle, has been singled out by many as the weapon of choice in a string of mass killings. At the same time, the rifle is hugely popular with sports shooters and legal gun enthusiasts, symbolizing the ideological division of the country.
In 1994, as a senator, Biden supported a ban on assault rifles. The law expired a decade later and was never renewed, with Republicans increasingly rigid in their opposition to what they describe as an attack on constitutional law.
After the shootings in Georgia and Colorado, Biden called on Congress to ban assault rifles and pass laws for better background checks on gun buyers, but narrow Democratic majorities in both houses make it difficult to process initiatives on this very issue. sensitive in the United States, where the Constitution establishes the right to bear arms.
With information from AFP