Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Biden plans new steps to combat U.S. gun violence

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President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he plans to unveil new steps to curtail U.S. gun violence.

Biden said it includes measures aimed at stemming the flow of firearms used in crimes after pledging to push for sweeping changes to firearms laws.

Senior administration officials said the actions would build on executive orders signed in April, when Biden asked the Justice Department to crack down on self-assembled “ghost guns’’.

Biden also plans new steps to hold rogue firearms dealers accountable for violating federal laws, help states employ more police officers using funds approved earlier to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The president also plans to strengthen efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to stop illegal gun trafficking across the states.

The White House said homicides rose by 30 per cent, and gun assaults rose by eight per cent in large cities in 2020.

Executive orders allow the president to act without waiting on Congress, where Democrats hold only a razor-thin majority and Republicans generally oppose new limits on firearms.

Gun rights, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, are one of thorniest issues in American politics.

Biden would also meet with state leaders, mayors, a police chief and other experts to discuss ways to make communities around the country safer.

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His moves came amid a growing impatience from gun-control activists that the administration has not acted more quickly to combat gun violence.

Biden promised during his campaign that he would take action against gun violence on the first day of his administration but had so far only announced limited measures to deal with a problem he has called an “epidemic’’.

A senior administration official said “the secondary consequences of the pandemic and the proliferation of illegal guns have led to increased violence over the past year and a half.’’

Reuters/NAN

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