US President Joe Biden revealed the statistics of the heavy price that United States is paying as a result of the surging incidents of gun violence.
Announcing a set of executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence in the wake of a series of mass shootings that shocked the country, Biden said, “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment”.
“Every day in this country, 316 people are shot. A hundred and six of them die every day. Our flag was still flying at half-staff for the victims of the horrific murder of 8 primarily Asian American people in Georgia when 10 more lives were taken in a mass murder in Colorado”, he said, referring to a historic spike in homicides and violence cities across the country, mainly targeting Black and brown Americans.
Homicide is the leading cause of death of Black boys and men ages 15 to 34 in the United States.
Biden added that between those two incidents, less than one week apart, there were more than 850 additional shootings that took the lives of more than 250 people, and left 500 others injured. “This is an epidemic, for God’s sake. And it has to stop”.
The president announced new measures he is enacting through an executive order to curb the epidemic of gun violence, meaning he does not need approval from Congress. “I asked the Attorney General and his team to identify for me immediate, concrete actions I can take now without having to go through the Congress,” Biden said.
In the first step, the Justice Department will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of the so-called “ghost guns”. Ghost guns are weapons sold without serial numbers or other identifying information. Criminals are buying kits containing nearly all of the components and directions for finishing a firearm within 30 minutes and using them to commit crimes. When these firearms turn up at crime scenes, they often cannot be traced by law enforcement due to the lack of a serial number. “I want to see these kits treated as firearms under the Gun Control Act, which is going to require that the seller and manufacturers make the key parts with serial numbers and run background checks on the buyers when they walk in to buy that package,” Biden said.
The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a ‘stabilizing brace’ effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.
The Justice Department will publish model “red flag” legislation for states to follow. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people who present a danger to themselves or others from accessing firearms. States that have red flag laws have seen a reduction in the number of suicides, according to Biden.
Noting that an average of 53 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner every month in the U.S., Biden said red flag laws can have a significant effect in protecting women from domestic violence. Biden said he has asked the Justice Department to publish a model red flag legislation so states can start crafting their own laws.
The Justice Department will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking and annual updates to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking.
The President announced his intention to nominate David Chipman as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. ATF is the key federal agency enforcing gun laws in the U.S., which has not had a confirmed director since 2015. Chipman, who served as special agent at ATF for 25 years, is a senior policy adviser at Giffords, the major gun control advocacy group.
Biden vowed that “Whether Congress acts or not, I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal as President to keep the American people safe from gun violence”.
He urged the Senate to immediately pass three House-passed bills to close loopholes that allow gun purchasers to bypass the background checks.
Gun violence in America is estimated to cost the nation $280 billion a year.
The latest incident of gun violence in the U.S. took place hours after the president’s address. One person was killed and five others injured when a gunman opened fire at a cabinet-making shop in Bryan, Texas, Thursday.
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