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Biden Promises Executive Action, Legislation on Guns

Stephen Gutowski - Washington Free Beacon  | Published on 4/1/2021

President Joe Biden said he plans to take aggressive action to implement new gun-control measures through both executive orders and by proposing legislation on Thursday.

When asked whether he plans to unilaterally enact new restrictions on homemade firearms, provide funding for state and local gun-control efforts, or propose legislation making gun manufacturers liable for criminal misuse of their products, Biden said he does.

"All the above," he said. "It's a matter of timing."

Biden did not elaborate on what the specific policies might look like or when they would be announced, but he has promised aggressive action on new gun control since the beginning of his presidential campaign. He faces an uphill battle in passing new gun restrictions through an evenly divided Senate. He indicated support for breaking down the 60-vote threshold for ending the filibuster—a legislative tactic embraced by gun-control advocates. He said he wants filibuster reform to require senators to physically talk to block bills.

"If there's complete lockdown and chaos as a result of the filibuster, then we'll have to go beyond what I'm talking about," Biden said.

This is the second time in a week Biden has promised to institute new gun-control policies either by legislation or executive action. In response to the mass shooting in Colorado on Monday, Biden gave a short speech calling on the Senate to take up the two House gun-control bills as well as pass a ban on popular firearms such as the AR-15. 

"The United States Senate should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that close loopholes in the background check system," Biden said. "We need to act. We should also ban assault weapons in the process."

Biden's gun proposals face roadblocks in the legislature. The House has not scheduled a vote on an "assault weapons" ban and did not pass one in the previous Congress. The two House bills focused on expanding background checks do not have enough support in the Senate to reach 50 votes, let alone 60. Opposition to nuking the filibuster also remains stable with Republicans uniformly opposed and Democratic senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) still against the idea.