Biden Takes Aim at Gun Violence With Executive Orders
Nine days into the month of April, the United States has experienced another 14 mass shootings.
On Thursday, hours after former NFL player Phillip Adams gunned down five people before shooting himself, President Joe Biden delivered a White House Rose Garden announcement in which he explained signing several executive orders:
- Directing the Justice Department (DOJ) to ratchet up regulations on sales of “ghost guns,” untraceable firearms that can be assembled from kits in about half an hour;
- Directing the DOJ to within 60 days design a proposal for regulating stabilizing braces that functionally convert pistols to short-barreled rifles;
- Directing courts and local law enforcement agencies to enforce “red-flag laws” intended to confiscate firearms from at-risk individuals;
- Directing federal agencies to allocate resources for community violence intervention programs;
- Nominating an official to head the federal agency responsible for cracking down on illegal gun trafficking.
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment.”
Adding that about 316 people are shot in America every day and 106 die, “hitting Black and brown communities the hardest,” Biden explained:
“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, what we’re talking about. But no amendment to the constitution is absolute. You can’t shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded movie theatre and call it freedom of speech.”
To that end, Biden called on Congress — again — to finally accomplish what ultra-partisan intransigence has heretofore been unable: meaningful gun control legislation, specifically re-instating the assault weapons ban former president George W. Bush allowed to lapse in 2003.
Never an easy task, it proves even more challenging today with 60 votes needed in the Senate to circumvent a Republican filibuster.
Referring to congressional lawmakers, the president said:
“They can do it right now. They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they have passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence. This is not a partisan issue among the American people. This is a view by the American people as an American issue. And I’m willing to work with anyone to get these done. And it’s long past time that we act.”
This is nearly identical to the message he delivered two weeks ago, after seven mass shootings in a week, when Biden urged Congress to pass two bills that have already passed the House of Representatives — one to expand background checks, another to renew prohibitions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines:
“This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue…I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.”
Biden also expressed his ultimate wish: erasing gun manufacturer liability protections.
“This is the only outfit that is exempt from being sued. If I get one thing on my list — (If) the Lord came down and said, ‘Joe, you get one of these’ — give me that one. Most people don’t realize, the only industry in America, billion-dollar industry, that can’t be sued, exempt from being sued, are gun manufacturers.”
Executive orders are not laws; they’re presidential fiats intended to move along policies stalled in Congress.
Permanent legislation must come from Capitol Hill.
Will we finally see sensible gun legislation and stanch the bloodshed?
The canard that “our founders wanted us to have guns to be able to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government” is something the gun lobby picked up and ran with decades ago.
It is not in the Constitution.
It’s a myth.
The individual gun ownership decision came from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 with the Heller vs. District of Columbia case.
With the tide turning in America after the November election, we have causes for optimism.
No Democrats are advocating taking people’s guns.
All we’re calling for is keeping weapons of war out of civilians’ hands.
Most responsible gun owners favor this stance.
No more “thoughts and prayers.”
Call your representatives: 202–224–3121.