On April 7th, the Biden-Harris Administration announced six actions towards gun violence prevention. These initial steps are monumental in the movement towards a safer world, but they are far from enough. This article is a breakdown of what actions the Administration has taken, but there are still far more steps that lawmakers need to take.
Cracking Down on Untraceable Ghost Guns The White House tasked the Justice Department to, within 30 days, issue a proposed rule to stop the spread of untraceable firearms. These “ghost guns” are sold in parts and completed by the buyer, and therefore, don’t have a serial number. This lack of identification makes them untraceable at crime scenes. These guns are growing in prevalence, especially in states with stricter gun control laws. In 2019, law enforcement recovered around 10,00 ghost guns -- a number that continues to rise as years go on.
Addressing Stabilizing Braces The White House also tasked the Justice Department to, within 60 days, issue a proposed rule to identify when a stabilizing brace device turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle. In the recent and devastating Boulder shooting, the alleged shooter used a pistol that was made more stable and accurate with an arm brace. Classifying this type of firearm as a short-barreled rifle will make it subject to the National Firearms Act, costing buyers an additional $200 and requiring them to submit more identifying information to the government.
Promoting Red Flag Laws The Biden-Harris Administration gave the Justice Department 60 days to publish a “red flag” legislation statute. This type of legislation allows family members or law enforcement to request a court order to temporarily deny access to firearms for a person in crisis. While this action is not a federal “red flag” law, it makes it easier for states to pass such legislation -- creating a model for states to adopt.
Preventing Violence The White House is issuing support and funding for community violence interventions -- noting the many different causes of gun violence. Their proposed American Jobs Plan would allow for a $5 billion investment in connecting individuals to job training and opportunities -- an essential part of violence intervention. They are also organizing toolkits on reimbursing violence intervention programs through Medicaid. Additionally, they are reallocating government programs' spending to support more community violence intervention programs. These programs, among other things, intervene in disputes to prevent them from becoming violent, support people in high-risk communities with finding employment, and work with shooting victims to prevent retaliation.
Tracking Firearm Trafficking In 2000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) summarized firearms trafficking in a report. However, trafficking has changed since 2000, and the report has not been effectively updated to match such changes. With this action from the Biden-Harris Administration, the Justice Department will publish a new report on the subject. Its findings will allow policymakers to create effective legislation to tackle firearms trafficking in today’s world. Through illegal gun trafficking, criminals obtain tens of thousands of guns every year as states with weak gun laws supply guns to criminals in other states.