MICHIGAN — President Joe Biden campaigned on tackling gun violence last year. Thursday morning, with Congress stalled on taking any gun safety measures, Biden introduced six executive actions that he believes will curb the gun crisis.
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic,” President Biden said before a crowd of survivors and gun control advocates including Gabby Gifford, who was injured during a shooting in January 2011 in Tucson, AZ. “Let me say it again: gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.”
Biden began the press conference by stating that the executive actions he’s recommending do not "impinge on the 2nd Amendment." He referred to arguments that state otherwise as "phony."
He then introduced his first action.
“The first, I want to reign in the proliferation of so-called ghost guns,” Biden said. “These are guns that are homemade, built from a kit, and include directions on how to finish the firearm. You can go buy the kit. They have no serial numbers. So, when they show up at a crime scene, they can't be traced.”
Tom Lambert, legislative director for Michigan Open Carry, said Biden’s first action was one of his biggest qualms.
“The very first thing in that list about ordering the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] to issue a rule-making change on so-called ghost guns--there’s a lot of misunderstanding in the public and media lately about what is a ghost gun. What the Biden administration is calling a ghost gun is effectively just a firearm that’s made at home,” Lambert said during a Zoom interview Thursday morning. “One of the biggest misconceptions--I see this everywhere right now--is supposedly that ghost guns are not subject to federal and state regulations pertaining to firearms, and that is absolutely not true.”
Lambert said as soon as it becomes a firearm, it’s immediately subject to state and federal laws. The main difference is that it’s not typically bought through a federally licensed dealer, so it doesn’t have to go through a background check.
Lambert questions how ghost guns will be regulated because he fears any "block of steel" will be deemed a "firearm, and therefore it has to be serialized and treated like a firearm."
“This is what’s called a lower receiver to an AR-15 platform. There’s nothing in here. There’s no trigger group. This is nothing more than just a hunk of aluminum in this shape,” Lambert said while holding it in his hand. “It can’t expel any projectiles. It’s not capable of being readily converted to expel a projectile. You got to find more parts, put them in here, know what you’re doing to get them in just right, add a whole bunch more to this: barrels, bolts, stocks, everything before this can expel a projectile. The ATF already considers this hunk of aluminum as nothing more than a paper weight, a firearm.”
Biden’s other action steps included the ATF providing reports on gun trafficking in America, establishing a model Red Flag law that prevents guns from getting into the hands of people who courts deem dangerous, and requiring pistol braces be registered.
Biden said the brace makes the firearm more “accurate than a mini rifle.”
“A lot of the big thing you see with gun control is they focus on cosmetic features or functional features that really don’t have a lot to do with operational firearm,” Lambert said. “This brace is a great example.”
Biden stated that the gunman in the Boulder, CO, mass shooting used a stabilizing brace.
“Our flags were still flying at half-staff for the victims of the horrific murder of eight primarily Asian American people in Georgia when 10 more lives were taken at a mass murder in Colorado,” Biden said. “You probably didn’t hear, but between those two incidents, less than one week a part, there were more than 850 additional shootings.”
Biden added that 316 people are shot every day in America, and 106 people die. Shootings have traumatizing impact on people who witness them in cities. One of his executive actions is to increase funding for intervention programs.
He believes his action steps are "nonpartisan" and said that he’s willing to work with anyone to get it done. He also nominated David Chipman as head of the ATF.
“I’ve heard many thoughts and prayers, members of Congress,” Biden said. “But they passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence. Enough prayers. Time for some action.”
Lambert believes that Biden’s orders will not curb gun violence. He suggests the president and other politicians “get out of the way” of law-abiding citizens in their efforts to protect themselves.
“Quite often the case with gun control efforts is that they apply to people who are not the problem,” Lambert said. “They catch--let’s call them 'good guys'--rather than catching the bad guys.”