Determining that “enough is enough,” President Joe Biden announced Thursday a series of executive actions to reduce gun violence.
“This is an epidemic, for God’s sake, and it has to stop,” Biden said during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland joined the commander in chief in calling on Congress to pass more extensive gun-control legislation.
“I have looked at autopsy photographs. I have seen with my own two eyes what a bullet can do to the human body,” Harris said. “I have held hands with the hands of parents who have lost a child. I have seen children who were traumatized by the loss of a parent or sibling. And I have fought my entire career to end this violence and to pass reasonable gun safety laws.
“Time and again, as progress has stalled, we have all asked, ‘What are we waiting for?’” she said. “Because we aren’t waiting for a tragedy, I know that. We’ve had more tragedy than we can bear. We aren’t waiting for solutions, either, because the solutions exist. They already exist.”
The executive orders issued include:
• Directing the Justice Department (DOJ) to propose a rule within 30 days to help stop the proliferation of “ghost” guns – firearms assembled from kits that often lack serial numbers and are difficult to trace.
• Directing the DOJ to craft a rule within 60 days, which clarifies the point at which a stabilizing arm brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, subjecting that firearm to additional regulations.
• Directing the DOJ to publish within 60 days, model red-flag legislation, which lets law enforcement officers or family members ask a court to bar someone from accessing guns under certain circumstances temporarily. The White House says the model legislation will make it easier for states to pass their own versions of that law.
• Directing the DOJ to issue a comprehensive report on gun trafficking.
The actions come in the wake of several recent mass shootings in the U.S., including one Wednesday in South Carolina in which five people, including two young children, were killed at a doctor’s home.
The accused gunman, former NFL player Phillip Adams, then fatally shot himself.
“This gun violence in our neighborhood is having a profound impact on our children, even if they’re never involved in pulling the trigger or being the victim of — on the other side of a trigger,” Biden said. “For a fraction of the cost of gun violence, we can save lives, create safe and healthy communities, and build economies that work for all of us, and save billions of American dollars.”