ALL NEWS

Biden to unveil actions on guns, including new ATF boss

Apr 8, 2021, 6:43 AM
FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo Giffords Law Center Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman s...
FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo Giffords Law Center Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman speaks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington. (The Biden administration is expected to nominate Chipman, a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords, to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
(The Biden administration is expected to nominate Chipman, a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords, to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will unveil a series of executive actions aimed at addressing gun violence on Thursday, delivering his first major action on gun control since taking office.

He’ll also nominate David Chipman, a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords, to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to senior Biden administration officials.

Biden has faced increasing pressure to act on gun control after a spate of mass shootings across the U.S. in recent weeks, but the White House has repeatedly emphasized the need for legislative action on guns. While the House passed a background-check bill last month, gun control measures face slim prospects in an evenly-divided Senate, where Republicans remain near-unified against most proposals.

Biden will be joined by Attorney General Merrick Garland at the event, and most of the actions will come from the Justice Department.

Biden is expected to announce tighter regulations requiring buyers of so-called “ghost guns” to undergo background checks. The homemade firearms — often assembled from parts and milled with a metal-cutting machine — often lack serial numbers used to trace them. It’s legal to build a gun in a home or a workshop and there is no federal requirement for a background check.

The president’s plans were previewed by a person familiar with the expected actions who was not authorized to publicly discuss them.

Senior administration officials confirmed that the Justice Department would issue a new proposed rule aimed at reining in ghost guns within 30 days, but offered no details on the content of the rule.

The Justice Department will also issue a proposed rule within 60 days tightening regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces, like the one used by the Boulder, Colorado, shooter in a massacre last month that left 10 dead. The rule would designate pistols used with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, which, under the National Firearms Act, require a federal license to own and are subject to a more thorough application process and a $200 tax.

The Justice Department will also publish model red flag legislation within 60 days, which the administration says will make it easier for states to adopt their own red flag laws. Such laws allow for individuals to petition a court to allow the police to confiscate weapons from a person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

And it will begin to provide more data on firearms trafficking, starting with a new comprehensive report on the issue, which the Biden administration says it hasn’t done in over two decades.

The president will also announce investments in community violence intervention programs, which are aimed at reducing gun violence in urban communities, across five federal agencies.

Administration officials hinted there may be more to come from the administration on guns, calling the round of executive actions “initial steps” that were completed under Garland’s purview within the first few weeks of his tenure.

The ATF is currently run by Acting Director Regina Lombardo. Gun-control advocates have emphasized the significance of the ATF director in enforcing the nation’s gun laws, and Chipman is certain to win praise from them. During his time as a senior policy adviser with Giffords, he spent considerable effort pushing for greater regulation and enforcement on ghost guns, reforms of the background check system and measures to reduce the trafficking of illegal firearms.

Prior to that, Chipman spent 25 years as an agent at the ATF, where he worked on stopping a trafficking ring that sent illegal firearms from Virginia to New York, and served on the ATF’s SWAT team. Chipman is a gun owner himself.

He also is an explosives expert and was among the team involved in investigating the Oklahoma City Bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing. He also was involved in investigating a series of church bombings in Alabama in the 1990s. He retired from the ATF in 2012.

Chipman and a White House spokesman both declined to comment.

During his campaign, Biden promised to prioritize new gun control measures as president, including enacting universal background check legislation, banning online sales of firearms and the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But gun-control advocates have said that while they were heartened by signs from the White House that they took the issue seriously, they’ve been disappointed by the lack of early action.

With the announcement of the new measures, however, advocates lauded Biden’s first moves to combat gun violence.

“Each of these executive actions will start to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic, and begin to make good on President Biden’s promise to be the strongest gun safety president in history,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.

Feinblatt in particular praised the move to regulate ghost guns, which he said “will undoubtedly save countless lives,” and lauded Chipman as an “invaluable point person” in the fight against illegal gun trafficking. He also said the group is looking forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration on further gun control measures, but it’s unclear what next moves the White House, or lawmakers on Capitol Hill, will be able to take.

Biden himself expressed uncertainty late last month when asked if he had the political capital to pass new gun control proposals, telling reporters, “I haven’t done any counting yet.”

For years, federal officials have been sounding the alarm about an increasing black market for homemade, military-style semi-automatic rifles and handguns. Ghost guns have increasingly turned up at crime scenes and in recent years have been turning up more and more when federal agents are purchasing guns in undercover operations from gang members and other criminals.

It is hard to say how many are circulating on the streets, in part because in many cases police departments don’t even contact the federal government about the guns because they can’t be traced.

Some states, like California, have enacted laws in recent years to require serial numbers be stamped on ghost guns.

The critical component in building an untraceable gun is what is known as the lower receiver, a part typically made of metal or polymer. An unfinished receiver — sometimes referred to as an “80-percent receiver” — can be legally bought online with no serial numbers or other markings on it, no license required.

A gunman who killed his wife and four others in Northern California in 2017 had been prohibited from owning firearms, but he built his own to skirt the court order before his rampage. And in 2019, a teenager used a homemade handgun to fatally shoot two classmates and wound three others at a school in suburban Los Angeles.

Plans for Biden’s announcement Thursday were first reported by Politico.

———

Associated Press Writer Lisa Marie Pane in Boise, Idaho, contributed reporting.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Cleanup of a large oil spill continued Thursday on northbound I-15 near Bluffdale, Utah. The oil or...
Aimee Schaeffer and Simone Seikaly

Multiple factors combined to stop NB-15 traffic overnight, lanes back open

An hours-long delay on northbound I-15 began with a jackknifed Amazon truck and thousands of oil spilled onto the freeway.
17 hours ago
police car at scene of tooele shooting...
Samantha Herrera

Shelter-in-place continues in Tooele as SWAT situation unfolds

The city is asking people to avoid the area of Deer Hollow and advised that anyone sheltering in place stay in their basements.
17 hours ago
people are pictured at city creek, shopping habits can be indicative of financial infidelity...
Samantha Herrera

Identifying financial infidelity and learning how to curb it

Some signs of financial infidelity are if you feel like you're spending behind your partner's back and if it's a recurring pattern.
17 hours ago
Three wildlife officers on board a state helicopter were uninjured when the helicopter crashed on L...
Simone Seikaly

Natural Resources helicopter crashes in San Juan County, no injuries

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the crash by a witness who saw a metallic blue helicopter go down in the La Sal Mountains.
17 hours ago
county library...
Elizabeth Weiler

Members of the council explain the Salt Lake County library tax

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council is approving a budget that includes a property tax increase for the Salt Lake County library system.  The Salt Lake County Library is funded through property taxes paid by Salt Lake County residents. Over 60% of people have library cards according to Salt Lake County government.  […]
17 hours ago
SafeUT app...
Adam Small

SafeUT reaches 1 million messages for first the time

SafeUT worked with first responders to conduct 349 life-saving interventions in 2022. A 17% increase from the previous year.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Biden to unveil actions on guns, including new ATF boss