After conflicting signals from the guy at the top, the Biden administration now seems set on using the Boulder, Colorado, shooting as the impetus for executive orders on gun control.
On Monday, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, drove from the Denver suburb of Arvada to Boulder, where he has been charged with killing 10 people after opening fire in a supermarket. Police have said Alissa used a Ruger AR-556 handgun in the shooting, and also carried a 9 mm handgun that police do not believe was used.
Early last week, Biden said he would push for action against what he termed “assault weapons,” but then Thursday at a news conference appeared to indicate that touting his economic plan might take precedence, according to The Daily Caller.
After those contradictory statements, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked Friday whether executive orders on gun control were still in the works.
“Yes,” she replied, according to a White House transcript of Psaki’s Friday media briefing.
“I can’t give you an exact timeframe, in part because they have to go through a review process, which is something that we do from here,” she said.
She then touted, as part of Biden’s anti-gun actions, restrictions slapped in place by President Barack Obama when Biden was the vice president.
“When the president was the vice president in the Obama-Biden administration, he helped put in place 23 executive actions to combat gun violence. It’s one of the levers that we can use — that any federal government, any president can use to help address the prevalence of gun violence and address community safety around the country,” she said.
Although Biden has shown a preference for abolishing the Senate filibuster and one-party bills, Psaki said this time, he might try to work with others.
“At the same time, he continues to believe that there is an opportunity to engage with Congress. There are two background bills — background check bills that are — have been proposed, have been introduced, have been working their way through. There have also been legislation introduced to ban an assault weapon — ban assault weapons,” she said, according to the transcript.
“But he also believes that there is an opportunity — and sometimes that the best path forward is working through states. And there has been progress made. We’ve seen over the last several years: 20 states now have extended background checks, 19 states have red flag laws, 7 states now have assault weapons bans. We know they work.”
“And so we have to address this epidemic, address the threat of gun violence across many avenues. And he will — he’s committed to doing that,” she said.
Biden himself offered a slightly different interpretation of his plans.
“We’re looking at what kind of authority I have relative to imported weapons, as well as whether or not I have any authority to — these new weapons that are being made by 3D equipment that aren’t registered as guns at all, there may be some latitude there as well,” Biden said Friday, according to a White House transcript of comments he made to the media.
Gun rights advocates are ready for the fight.
Mike Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, said Colorado has universal background checks, a red-flag law and a ban on large-capacity magazines.
“With everything we have, we’ll fight to keep meaningless, counterproductive gun control from passing,” Hammond said, according to The Washington Post.
Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said he expects Biden and gun rights opponents will seek “as much as they can get” on gun control.
“We’re geared up for a big battle,” he said.
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