Biden expected to announce executive action on guns
President Biden is expected to announce on Thursday a series of executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to indicate during a press briefing on Wednesday that Biden would address gun violence the following day, but she would not elaborate on what specific measures he would announce.
Politico first reported that the new actions will focus on tightening restrictions around so-called ghost guns. Democratic senators and advocacy groups have pushed Biden in recent weeks to address that particular aspect through executive action.
Biden has faced mounting pressure to act unilaterally to address gun violence in the wake of shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., last month. Both shootings reignited the debate around gun laws, but Biden dismayed advocates when he said during a press conference that he planned to prioritize infrastructure legislation.
It remains unclear whether there is a path for Congress to pass stricter gun laws or expanded background checks. But the White House has previously indicated Biden is open to using executive action to enact some changes.
Advocacy groups, including Brady, Giffords, Everytown and parents of victims of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, have met with Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice and Biden adviser Cedric Richmond in recent weeks.
Anti-gun violence advocates, including some who attended meetings with Biden officials, told The Hill in February that, through executive order, Biden could eliminate ghost guns by defining what constitutes a gun.
The term ghost guns refers to guns available for purchase, typically without a background check or a serial number, that are not fully finished or may have a missing part.
Through executive orders, Biden could also change or expand the definition of who is in the business of selling guns and prioritize funding for community violence prevention programs, according to advocates.
The two gun violence prevention bills the House passed last month don’t tackle the issue of ghost guns.
One would strengthen background checks by requiring a licensed or private seller to conduct a check before transferring a firearm and the other would close the so-called Charleston loophole by extending the time federal investigators have to conduct background checks.
Both bills face an uphill battle in the Senate and would need 60 votes to make it through the Senate, meaning 10 Republicans would have to cross the aisle to overcome a legislative filibuster.
Amie Parnes contributed.