Joe Biden targets “ghost weapons” and announces measures to stop the killings

The president of USA, Joe Biden, will announce this Thursday a package of measures aimed at controlling the rampant violence by Firearms in the country. And the sights are set especially on the “ghost weapons”.

These are homemade guns that cannot be traced because they are sold without serial numbers or information to identify their owner.

The president has received pressures on the part of his Democratic allies to act after the recent shootings in Colorado, Georgia and California.

The White House detailed in a statement that the government will enact six initial measurements to “tackle the public health epidemic of gun violence.”

The initiative is motivated by the promises that Biden made in the campaign and by the recent mass shootings in Boulder -where 10 people died- and in Atlanta -which left eight fatalities-, so will seek to reduce “all forms of gun violence: community violence, mass shootings, domestic violence and suicide by firearm. “

“Gun violence takes lives and leaves a lasting legacy of trauma in communities every day in this country, even when it is not on the nightly news,” the US government stressed. And he remarked that many areas of the country are going through a “historic homicide spike.”

On March 22, the city of Boulder, Colorado, experienced the horror of another bloody shooting. Photo: AFP

Although Biden presents these measures, will need the approval of Congress, who has asked to pass these laws.

The president highlighted the approval of two bills in the House of Representatives last month that seeks to close the loopholes that exist in the background check system, among others.

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Homemade weapons

But the Executive “will not wait for Congress to take action to save lives.” That’s why the Justice Department will issue a bill within 30 days to help stop the proliferation of “ghost weapons,” which are kits that buyers can easily weaponize.

A tribute to a police officer killed during a shooting that left nine other victims in Boulder, Colorado, days ago.  Photo: REUTERS

A tribute to a police officer killed during a shooting that left nine other victims in Boulder, Colorado, days ago. Photo: REUTERS

As they are not classified as firearms, these kits can be purchased by anyone, without the need to present the background.

When these types of weapons are used to commit crimes, they often cannot be traced by law enforcement due to the lack of a serial number or more identifying details.

On the other hand, the same department, within a period of 60 days, will issue a legislative project to “clarify when a device marketed as stabilizing reinforcement effectively converts a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Law on Firearms. Fire”.

This particular action was the one used by the alleged Boulder shooter, as he used a gun with a stabilization device, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while remaining concealable.

Customers in an armory in Orem, in the state of Utah.  Buying guns is easy in the United States.  Photo: BLOOMBERG

Customers in an armory in Orem, in the state of Utah. Buying guns is easy in the United States. Photo: BLOOMBERG

Purchase restrictions

The Department of Justice will also publish model “red flag” legislation for states, to allow family members or security forces to apply for a court order temporarily prohibiting people in crisis from accessing firearms if they represent a danger to themselves or others.

Nevertheless, there will be no big measures to try to toughen general gun laws, such as additional background checks, or ending the sale of powerful rifles that are often used in mass murder.

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In addition to these measures, Biden will increase funding for misguided efforts to reduce urban violence, allocating $ 5 billion over the next eight years.

Finally, the White House has announced that the president will appoint David Chipman as director of the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the federal agency that regulates weapons and their sale.

Reflecting the lack of political unity in all things related to firearm restrictions, the ATF has not had a Senate-confirmed director since 2015.

Biden takes a long time pledging a strong hand against gun culture in the United States that, according to him, fuels an epidemic of mass shootings, as well as the daily flow of crimes and suicides with firearms, even more deadly but less reported.

The president declares himself in favor of a stricter control of the antecedents of the buyers of firearms and of the prohibition of the military-type rifles called assault weapons. But these initiatives face strong resistance in Congress.

In 1994, as a senator, Biden supported a ban on assault weapons. The law expired a decade later and was never renewed, with Republicans increasingly rigid in their opposition to what they describe as an attack on the constitutional right to bear arms.

Source: DPA, AP and AFP

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