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President Biden has had incremental success at implementing gun control through executive action, rolling out a rule last year to regulate pistol-stablizing braces, directing his Justice Department to target gun traffickers, and announcing a new crackdown on “ghost guns” Monday.
While the president touted his administration’s actions, he also said that “this should be just the start” and called on Congress to pass laws on gun control, a politically contentious issue that has been deadlocked in the legislature for the past decade.
“We need Congress to pass universal background checks,” Biden said in the Rose Garden on Monday. “And I know it’s controversial, but I got it done once: Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”
Biden was referring to the 1994 federal assault weapons ban that Congress passed when he was a senator and expired in 2004. A study conducted that year for the Department of Justice found that the “ban’s impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
The president also called for Congress to “eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability.”
“Gun manufacturers have more immunity from liability than any other American industry, so they have never had to take responsibility for the death and destruction their products cause,” the president said Monday.
Despite the president’s pleadings, gun control is unlikely to go anywhere in Congress.
While Democrats control both chambers, any major gun reform legislation will require 60 votes in the Senate, meaning that at least 10 Republicans would have to sign on to legislation for it to be viable.
With midterm elections just seven months away and the widely-held expectation that Republicans will take back the House of Representatives, some Democrats are calling on Biden to do more unilaterally.
More than 100 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Biden last month calling for him to take action on gun control, including by cracking down on ghost guns and nominating a new ATF head, as well as issuing an executive order on federal gun licensing requirements, Politico reported.
As the crime wave worsens, Americans continue to purchase guns in record numbers, and use them in self-defense and to thwart crimes far more often than most of the media reports.