Joe Biden declares 'enough prayers' in announcing new gun control plan

On the day before US President Joe Biden announced new gun control measures, the US recorded its seventh mass shooting for 2021.

The plans to announce the new measures were already in place before a former NFL player killed five people in South Carolina.

The shooting brought America's death toll from mass shootings in 2021 to 38, a problem Biden labelled "an epidemic, for God's sake".

"It has to stop," he said.

"Ghost guns" are homemade weapons that are assembled from parts and don't have a serial number, making it difficult to trace them. In the US, it's legal to build a "ghost gun" in a home and there's no requirement for a background check.

Biden's new rule would require "ghost gun" kits to carry serial numbers and for buyers to get background checks.

The new rules on pistols with stabilising braces — which can effectively turn pistols and rifles — will mean buyers will require a federal licence and pass a more thorough application process.

“The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as a nation,” Biden said.

It's a long way short of what Biden promised

On the election campaign trail in 2020, the US president promised to take much more forceful action to combat America's gun violence issue.

His plan, still available on his website, promised comprehensive measures like an assault weapons ban and a plan to buy back those already on America's streets.

The plan also proposed background checks for all gun sales and banning the sale of guns and ammunition online.

But today's new measures are a long way short of that, and it's because of the political reality Biden faces in Congress.

His new rules were issued via executive order, a special power the US president can use to act without the approval of Congress.

But executive orders are limited and Biden's most ambitious goals would need to pass through the House of Representatives and the Senate.

He said today he wasn't going to "give up" on that goal.

"There's much more that Congress can do to help that effort. And they can do it right now," Biden said,

"They've offered plenty of thoughts and prayers — members of Congress — but they've passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence.

"Enough prayers. Time for some action."

Despite the limited scope of the orders, gun control advocates welcomed the moves.

"Each of these executive actions will start to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic, and begin to make good on President Biden’s promise to be the strongest gun safety president in history," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.

Dr. Dhillon Randeep

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