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Joe Biden takes action on ‘epidemic’ of US gun violence – ‘International embarrassment’
April 9, 2021
Kamala Harris quizzed on gun control 'executive action'
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The 78-year-old US President enacted an executive order targeting unregistered and untraceable homemade guns known as “ghost guns”. The measures also include reinforcements to existing rules, including more thorough background checks, rules for certain guns and supporting local violence prevention.
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Mr Biden said: “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic.
“It’s an international embarrassment.”
The gun control reforms come as another mass shooting, which killed five people including two young children in South Carolina on Wednesday, shook the nation.
In the past, gun control measures have always been met by harsh criticism because of fears the US constitution’s second amendment, which allows people the right to keep and bear arms, will be breached.
In his speech, Mr Biden confronted the notion that the new measures would infringe on the public’s second amendment rights.
“Nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the second amendment,” said Mr Biden.
“No amendment made to the constitution is absolute. You can’t yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded movie theatre and call it freedom of speech.
“From the very beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. From the very beginning that the second amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons.
“So the idea is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the constitution.”
Mr Biden continued to say that the steps were being taken not just to confront the “gun crisis” but what he called “a public health crisis.”
During his speech Mr Biden made note that between the two separate attacks in Colorado and Georgia which happened within a week of each other and left 18 dead in March, there were over 850 additional shootings.
“This is an epidemic for God’s sake. And it has to stop,” said the president.
Mr Biden’s executive order gives the justice department just one month to propose legislation to tackle the number of so-called “ghost guns”.
The guns themselves can be ordered online in a DIY kit, contain no serial numbers and require no background checks.
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According to federal firearms officials, over 40% of guns seized in Los Angeles are these variety of guns which can be assembled in as little as 30 minutes.
Mr Biden also asked the Justice Department to create rules on stabilising braces for pistols which would require much more rigorous background checks.