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World

Biden tackles 'ghost guns' and US firearms violence

  • Nearly 40,000 Americans die each year from shootings, more than half due to suicide.
Updated 08 Apr 2021

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden will unveil measures on Thursday aimed at curbing rampant US gun violence, especially seeking to prevent the spread of untraceable "ghost guns," White House officials said.

Biden has come under pressure from his Democratic party to tackle the bloodshed, most recently highlighted by mass killings as far apart as Colorado, Georgia and California.

In addition to relatively modest measures on the politically hyper-sensitive issue, Biden will announce his nomination of David Chipman, a gun-control proponent, to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- a central agency in the fight against gun violence.

Reflecting the lack of political unity around anything to do with firearms restrictions, the ATF has not had a Senate-confirmed director since 2015.

Chipman is a veteran of the agency who went on to work for a gun control advocacy group and there is no one "better to enforce gun laws," a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biden would be issuing six measures "to address the gun-violence health epidemic."

Standing out is a proposed new rule to "stop proliferation of ghost guns," as firearms built from home kits are known. The official said these homemade weapons are especially of concern because when found at crime scenes "they cannot be traced."

Other measures include boosting support for agencies involved in tackling community violence and ordering the first comprehensive report on firearms trafficking in the United States since 2000.

Nearly 40,000 Americans die each year from shootings, more than half due to suicide.

"Gun violence takes lives and leaves a lasting legacy of trauma in communities every single day in this country, even when it is not on the nightly news," the White House said in a statement.

"In fact, cities across the country are in the midst of a historic spike in homicides, violence that disproportionately impacts Black and brown Americans. The president is committed to taking action to reduce all forms of gun violence."