on December 20, 2021
President Joe Biden released a recorded video last week to mark the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, plead with Congress to pass gun control legislation, and take a victory lap about his administration’s executive action targeting privately made firearms.
“It’s still frustrating now, for you and me and many others in Parkland, Florida, and Oxford, Michigan — countless communities across the country,” he said. “These horrific shootings make national headlines and embarrass us a nation. And for many others, every day, particularly in Black and Brown communities, there is the equivalent of a mass shooting we don’t even hear about.”
The president called on Congress to pass a universal background check bill, a bill to prohibit firearm ownership for alleged domestic abusers, and his “Build Back Better” social welfare bill, which includes investment in “community violence intervention programs.”
“I’ve helped beat the NRA with your help twice,” he concluded. “It can be done again. We have to keep up the pressure. We have to act. We can’t give up. We have to get it done.”
Congress may have been closer to “getting it done” than has previously been reported. Though the Democrat-controlled U.S. House has passed sweeping gun control measures, the split U.S. Senate has so far refused to take a vote on any anti-gun legislation.
However, according to the Washington Post, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy was close to inking a deal with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham that would have required background checks on gun sales at all gun shows.
“The two had for months negotiated with outside groups on a background-check bill that could pick up at least 10 Republican votes in the Senate,” according to the Post. “Murphy and Graham were negotiating legislation that would expand background checks for purchases at gun shows but not for online sales, the Connecticut Democrat said.”
Those talks eventually fell apart when it became clear that Graham wouldn’t be able to get enough Republicans on board.
In his address, Biden claimed to have “curbed the proliferation of ghost guns,” cracked down on rogue gun dealers, and promoted safe gun storage.
In fact, the Biden administration has yet to do anything about privately made firearms, i.e., “ghost guns.” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives released a proposed rule in May banning the sale of unfinished receivers and redefining “frame or receiver.” But the agency has yet to finalize it after they received nearly 250,000 comments, the majority of which were negative.
It’s unclear when they will release a final rule.