Democrat President Joe Biden on Thursday nominated David Chipman, a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to head that agency, while also announcing what an administration fact sheet described as “six initial actions” on gun control.
CNN is describing this as Biden’s “first, limited actions on gun control,” but grassroots activists and Second Amendment advocates are drawing a line in the sand. In a sharply-worded statement, the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb warned, “Our legal team will review them and we are prepared to file suit if Biden and his administration steps over their legal authority.”
Described by the White House as the “Biden-Harris administration,” the president announced six actions in a “Fact Sheet” released Wednesday evening.
The Justice Department, within 30 days, will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns.” We are experiencing a growing problem: criminals are buying kits containing nearly all of the components and directions for finishing a firearm within as little as 30 minutes and using these firearms 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. The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of these firearms.
The Justice Department, within 60 days, 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, within 60 days, will publish model “red flag” legislation for states. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. The President urges Congress to pass an appropriate national “red flag” law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass “red flag” laws of their own. In the interim, the Justice Department’s published model legislation will make it easier for states that want to adopt red flag laws to do so.
The Administration is investing in evidence-based community violence interventions. Community violence interventions are proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration. Because cities across the country are experiencing a historic spike in homicides, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking a number of steps to prioritize investment in community violence interventions.
- The American Jobs Plan proposes a $5 billion investment over eight years to support community violence intervention programs. A key part of community violence intervention strategies is to help connect individuals to job training and job opportunities.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is organizing a webinar and toolkit to educate states on how they can use Medicaid to reimburse certain community violence intervention programs, like Hospital-Based Violence Interventions.
- Five federal agencies are making changes to 26 different programs to direct vital support to community violence intervention programs as quickly as possible. These changes mean we can start increasing investments in community violence interventions as we wait on Congress to appropriate additional funds. Read more about these agency actions here.
The Justice Department will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking. In 2000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) issued a report summarizing information regarding its investigations into firearms trafficking, which is one way firearms are diverted into the illegal market where they can easily end up in the hands of dangerous individuals. Since the report’s publication, states, local, and federal policymakers have relied on its data to better thwart the common channels of firearms trafficking. But there is good reason to believe that firearms trafficking channels have changed since 2000, for example due to the emergence of online sales and proliferation of “ghost guns.” The Justice Department will issue a new, comprehensive report on firearms trafficking and annual updates necessary to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking today.
“The devil will be in the details,” SAF’s Gottlieb warned.
He noted reports that Biden has been meeting with representatives from various gun control groups.
“Nobody from the Biden administration has reached out to us or any other rights organization to my knowledge, which certain clarifies Biden’s approach to firearms regulation,” Gottlieb said. “He came into office talking about unity, but he just declared war on tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners who have committed no crimes.”
CNN complained in its story, “But the actions fall short of the sweeping actions Biden promised as a candidate that must be passed by Congress, including a ban on assault weapons or enacting universal background checks. Senior administration officials framed the upcoming announcements as initial steps that would be followed by additional actions later on, including applying pressure on lawmakers to act.”
This raises concerns among gun owners that more is coming from the White House in what Gottlieb described as a frontal attack.
As for the Chipman nomination, The Gunwriter noted in an online column Chipman was a senior advisor to Everytown for Gun Safety from July 2012 to July 2013. He retired from ATF after 25 years and is a senior policy advisor for the Giffords gun control group.
In a January 2020 Op-Ed in the Roanoke Times, Chipman described himself as “a proud gun owner who has sometimes been mischaracterized as a gun grabber, first in my career in service to my country and now as an advocate for gun safety.”
A few paragraphs later, Chipman added, “I am a proud and responsible gun owner, as are millions of Virginians. I am also permitted to carry a concealed handgun. I am not afraid of lawmakers in Richmond passing laws to make it harder for criminals to get guns. In fact, I’m part of the majority who demand it.”
And there is an ominous tone about the White House’s characterization of the “Biden-Harris administration” that is not lost on Kelly Sadler, writing Thursday at the Washington Times observes, “It’s day 79 of the Harris-Biden administration, and it’s expected President Biden — no, I mean, President Harris — will announce a half-dozen executive actions on gun control. Although an outright ban on assault weapons is not expected Thursday, the Biden administration has made clear these are the first of “major actions” the White House will be taking on gun control.
“With Mr. Biden’s advanced age,” Sadler adds, “it’s essential we explore Ms. Harris’ radical gun control plan, for it seems — like with the crisis on the southern border — Ms. Harris is taking the reins.”