April 8, 2021

Today, from the Rose Garden, President Joe Biden announced a series of Executive Actions to further the Biden Administration’s gun control agenda.  Realizing that Congressional action on gun control is unlikely due to a deeply divided Senate and a filibuster that affords Republicans the ability to block excessive gun control proposals from becoming law, President Biden is, once again, turning to the power of the Executive.  President Biden has already signed over 50 executive orders, the most by far of any modern-day President in such a short time in office, and is now focusing on the firearms industry.  The most significant Executive Actions announced by President Biden today include:

  • The designation of AR pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, which would be regulated under the National Firearms Act.  The rule would mandate that purchasers hold a federal license to own this category firearm, would create a significantly longer application process for potential purchasers, and would impose a $200 tax on any purchase. The directive calls for the Justice Department to issue the designation within 60 days.
  • New regulations on so-called “ghost guns,” which are firearms that are referred to as “untraceable” because they lack serial numbers and are often built from incomplete component parts.  President Biden is seeking to serialize component parts used to assemble “ghost guns” and require background checks to purchase them.  The directive calls for the Justice Department to issue new proposed rules on “ghost guns” within 30 days.
  • The publishing of a “model” red flag legislation by the Department of Justice, which would purport to establish recommended laws for the states.  The claimed model legislation would suggest ways to make it easier for individuals to petition a court to allow police to confiscate weapons from persons who are claimed to be a danger to themselves or others. Undoubtedly, the suggested model legislation will raise significant Due Process and privacy concerns.  
  • The nomination of David Chipman to head the ATF.  Mr. Chipman is a well-known gun control advocate who currently serves as the Senior Policy Advisor for the Giffords Courage to Fight Gun Violence organization.  Mr. Chipman was previously a Special Agent for the ATF for 25 years.  Never has such an outspoken critic of the firearms industry served as head of the ATF.  Mr. Chipman’s appointment to head the ATF would likely lead to a sharp anti-gun policy shift for the ATF that would almost assuredly harm the good working relationship that the ATF has had with the firearms industry for many years. 

In addition, President Biden also continues to call on Congress to enact into law a ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, and to eliminate the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.  Fortunately, the passage of these drastic restrictive measures are unlikely to pass through the Senate, where the proposals will be met with staunch Republican opposition.

Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor the Biden Administration’s attempt to impose new federal firearm restrictions.  If you have any questions concerning the potential impact of the new Executive Actions, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.