Biden expected to unveil new steps on gun violence

Amid growing concern about gun violence and untraceable “ghost guns” that can be 3D-printed at home, President Joe Biden was scheduled Monday to introduce new policy measures on firearms.

Biden’s announcement will most likely rely on executive orders on gun control, ghost guns and other facets of firearms regulation as part of an approach to rein in the pandemic wave of firearms-related attacks, two people with knowledge of his remarks said.

As part of Monday’s policy rollout, Biden was expected to name a new and long-awaited replacement nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In September, the White House withdrew its last nominee, 25-year ATF veteran David Chipman, following unanimous opposition from Republicans who say they want to protect the right to bear arms.

Chipman is a senior policy adviser at a nonprofit organization, Giffords, named for former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was shot in a 2011 assassination attempt. The organization aims to reduce gun violence and save lives. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., alleged that Chipman was a foe of the Second Amendment.

Gun violence advocates have been furious at the Biden administration for failing to lobby hard enough for Chipman, in their view, and for waiting so long to announce a replacement.

The political wrangling comes amid continued school and workplace shootings and an increase in gun violence in many major cities.

Biden was also expected to announce new steps to make it harder for people to build and acquire so-called ghost guns.

Many big cities have reported recovering increasing numbers of the weapons. They lack serial numbers, which can allow law enforcement agencies to track them and enforce background checks. And they are essentially available in plastic, which can bypass metal detectors.

The president’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget provided clues about the expected policy rollout, and it may be at least part of its line of funding.

Unveiled in March, it includes $1.7 billion for ATF to expand multijurisdictional gun trafficking strike forces with additional personnel and possibly increased regulation of the firearms industry.

In 2020, the latest year with complete data, more Americans died from gunfire than at any other time on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the Pew Research Center says the mortality rate connected to firearms was not the highest ever because the figure is related to population, and the population has increased more than gun violence has.

Some academics have noted that the gunfire phenomenon roughly correlates to a massive increase in gun sales starting at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the same time, homicide numbers were starting to decline in Los Angeles, which can be a bellwether of crime, the data journalism publication Crosstown L.A. reported. Firearms were used in a majority of the homicides, it said.

The White House was expected to make its announcement at a 2:15 p.m. event in the Rose Garden, which is scheduled to feature remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, according to Biden’s daily press schedule.

Gun control advocates, gun violence victims and others concerned about the effect of firearms on crime and deaths were expected to attend, a person with knowledge of the event said.

The White House is not commenting on the record ahead of the scheduled announcement.

The news of the policy rollout was reported earlier by CNN.

Kristen Welker

Kristen Welker is chief White House correspondent for NBC News.

Josh Lederman

Josh Lederman is an NBC News correspondent.

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

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