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Biden to announce new executive actions on guns


President Joe Biden plans to announce new executive actions on guns on Thursday, a person familiar with the plans said, fulfilling a commitment he made in the aftermath of two deadly shootings last month.

Biden has been considering requiring background checks on so-called ghost guns along with other measures that would strengthen existing gun laws.

The extent of Thursday’s announcement, which was first reported by Politico, wasn’t immediately clear, and the White House did not elaborate.

“I expect the President will have more to say tomorrow,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a daily briefing Wednesday.

Biden said last month following a mass shooting in Colorado, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future.”

Ghost guns are handmade or self-assembled firearms that don’t have serial numbers. The action would officially classify them as firearms, therefore requiring a background check, according to administration officials.

The move would be in line with recommendations from gun safety advocacy groups who are consulting with the White House.

The administration had also been considering action in other areas, including to alert law enforcement agencies when someone fails a federal background check. Gun control advocates say background check alerts could potentially flag troubled or criminal individuals who are trying to access weapons.

Following last month’s shootings, Biden called on Congress to take steps like re-enacting an assault weapons ban, with Vice President Kamala Harris, who argued for executive actions on the campaign trail, telling “CBS This Morning” that “if we really want something that is going to be lasting, we need to pass legislation.”

The Democratic-controlled House passed gun legislation that would expand background checks on all commercial gun sales last month, but the bills face tougher paths in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim 50-50 majority and would need significant Republican support to overcome a legislative filibuster.

Biden acknowledged during a news conference that his main legislative priority was passing an infrastructure package and that he believed careful timing was key to the success of any proposed bills.

As the nation’s posture on guns has evolved, Biden has been front-and-center at most every stop along the way for more than three decades, from the triumph of a 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994 to the disappointment of a failed push for universal background checks in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. Recent shootings in Georgia and Colorado had raised the question inside the West Wing over how much political capital Biden should expend on the matter, which has so often ended in frustration.

While campaigning, Biden had said he would task his attorney general with instituting better enforcement of existing gun laws as a means of slowing gun violence. He also made a campaign pledge to send $900 million for community programs meant to combat violence, something the administration is sorting out how to fulfill.

This story has been updated with additional background.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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