President Joe Biden was set to deliver remarks on gun control on Thursday, and was joined by Attorney General Merrick Garland, Vice President Harris, her husband, and First Lady Jill Biden.
The Biden administration announced their intentions to act unilaterally from the White House if Congress doesn't act towards more gun control legislation.
"We have a long way to go it seems we always have a long way to go," he said, saying that the US is facing a "public health crisis" of gun violence, and that his plans do not infringe on the Second Amendment.
That said, he went on to say that "no amendment to the Constitution is absolute."
"It's just bizarre," he said, to say that anything the administration is proposing is anathema to the Constitution. He reiterated his point that gun violence is an epidemic and a crisis in America.
Biden remarked on the most recent mass shooting, Wednesday night in South Caroline, and spoke about his own grief at having lost loved ones.
"What alot of people have not been through what they've been through it takes alot of courage to come to an event like this they are absolutely determined to make change," Biden said, speaking of parents who lost a child in a Connecticut school shooting. Other parents who had lost children, and those who had survived mass shootings, were present in the Rose Garden where Biden was speaking.
He thanked those who attended his remarks, and for their "courage to continue this fight."
"To turn pain into purpose and take action that gives the word meaning: enough, enough, enough," he said, noting the numbers on gun violence.
"This is an epidemic for God sakes, and it has to stop," he said, before addressing the "immediate concrete actions he could take now without having to go through the Congress."
"Want to reign in the proliferation of so-called 'ghost guns,'" he said, which are "kit guns" that people can put together at home. Background checks are not required to buy the kits online. "I want to see these kits treated as fire arms," he said.
"The second action we're going to take," he said, is to commission a report on the trafficking of illegal firearms.
"We want to treat pistols, modified with stabilizing braces, with the seriousness that they deserve." Biden said that these "modifications to firearms that make them more lethal should be subject to the National Firearms Act."
"Red flag" laws are also on Biden's agenda. These allow people to report others who may be a danger to themselves or others if they have firearms, so that a court order can be issued to prevent those individuals from obtaining these weapons.
"An average of 53 women," per month "are shot and killed by an intimate partner," he said, noting that the "red flag laws" would help protect women, mass shooters, and would-be suicide victims.
He wants this law to be national, and also wants states to enact it, per the Department of Justice guidelines. "It's time to put these laws on the books and protect even more people."
Biden addressed the drastic increase in crime in major American cities, noting that the biggest cause of death of black and brown men is gun violence. To try to fix that, Biden called for community investment programs.
The cost of gun violence is $280 billion per year, Biden said, as well as the community and emotional impact, which has a "profound impact on our children."
"For a fraction of the cost of gun violence we can save lives, create safe and healthy communities, and build economies that work for all of us, and save billions of American dollars in the meantime, much of which... is tax payer money."
Biden also announced his nominee for new director of the ATF, David Chipman, who served for 25 years in the Bureau.
"My job, the job of any American president, is to protect the American people," Biden said, reiterating a point he's made dozens of times over the course of his short term in office.
"Whether Congress acts or not, I'm going to use all the resources at my disposal as president to keep the American people safe from gun violence. But there's much more that Congress can do to help that effort. And they can do it right now," Biden said.
"They've offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they've passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence. Enough prayers, time for some action."
He called for the Senate to pass bills to "close loopholes that allow gun purchases to" avoid background checks. Biden asked Congress to renew the Violence Against Women Act, to ban high-capacity magazines, as well as assault-rifles.
Biden said that gun manufacturers should be relieved of the immunity they get in Congress, saying they should not be exempt from being sued, as they now are. "This is the only outfit that is exempt from being sued." This, he said would really trigger a "come to the Lord moment, really quickly," for gun makers.
"Everything that's being proposed today is consistent with the second amendment," he said.
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