President Joe Biden will unveil his “long-awaited” executive actions on guns on Thursday, and it will reportedly include a ban on so-called “ghost guns” — makeshift and, in many cases, 3D-printed firearms.
It is not clear whether Biden is expected to take further action on “assault” weapons, however, given the limitations of the executive order function, and concerns that such a unilateral ban would simply invite further Constitutional litigation, even though Democrats have been demanding Biden take on assault weapons without consulting Congress.
“President Joe Biden is expected to unveil a long-awaited package of executive actions to curb gun violence Thursday at the White House, according to four people familiar with the plan,” Politico reported Wednesday. “Biden will direct the administration to begin the process of requiring buyers of so-called ghost guns — homemade or makeshift firearms that lack serial numbers — to undergo background checks, according to three people who have spoken to the White House about the plans. He is expected to be joined at the event by Attorney General Merrick Garland.”
More than 100 Democrats signed a letter last week demanding that Biden take executive action on so-called “assault weapons” that are “concealable,” citing a gun control law authored to regulate the sale of machine guns, initially, in the mid-1930s, and updated in later decades to keep up with technology. The group argued that the measure allows Biden to move on banning such firearms without the approval or input of Congress, which is so evenly split, it is unlikely any assault weapons ban would pass.
Biden, Politico notes, is expected to push back on the possibility of executive action beyond merely regulating “ghost guns,” tossing the difficult subject of gun control back to House and Senate Democrats, particularly measures expanding federal background checks and curbing the sale of both assault weapons and “high-capacity magazines.”
“In response to criticism from gun control advocacy groups that his administration has moved too slowly on executive actions, the Biden White House has responded that legislative fixes are a priority,” Politico noted. “Biden is likely to make the same point on Thursday, in addition to expressing support for bills to expand background checks and close the so-called Charleston loophole that allows a gun to be transferred from licensed gun dealers before a completed background check. He also is likely to push for legislation to keep guns away from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others, as well as a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”
Gun rights groups are already planning on challenging any new executive order on firearms. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) Tuesday signed into law HB 2111, which would prevent state and local governments from implementing any new gun control laws coming out of Washington, D.C. Those who support the bill say law-abiding gun owners are protected from potential laws that would be a violation of the Second Amendment and are moving to limit whether Biden’s executive actions have force within their states.