WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden is expected on Thursday to start rolling out executive actions regulating guns after a slew of mass shootings early in his White House tenure put pressure on the longtime advocate for gun restrictions to act.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden visits a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The announcement is expected to include a presidential declaration that could ultimately require people who buy untraceable, self-assembled “ghost guns” to undergo a background check, said one person familiar with the situation.
The measure is one of several the administration has been working on for months to try to limit gun violence without starting a legal battle that could lead to courts quickly dismantling the policies.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed on Wednesday that Biden would address the issue on Thursday but declined to give details.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has said more than 30% of the illegal weapons it has confiscated in some areas of California are “ghost guns” but they are not currently regulated as firearms that require background checks.
Mass shootings last month in Georgia and Colorado have put pressure on the White House to act, as swift legislation is not likely to pass through Congress.
Gun control activists have been invited to a White House event on Thursday, according to a different person familiar with the matter. The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment.
“The president will have more to say tomorrow,” Psaki told reporters.
Later she confirmed to reporters that Biden had chosen David Chipman, a former ATF special agent, to serve as the agency’s director. Gun control activists and some of Biden’s fellow Democrats in Congress had pleaded with the White House to name a person to the post.
Chipman is an adviser to Giffords, a gun violence prevention organization spearheaded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 mass shooting in Arizona.
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Sarah Lynch; Editing by Chris Reese and Howard Goller