Biden declares, ‘No amendment to Constitution is absolute’ as he rolls out gun measures

Posted 6 days ago


WASHINGTON — President Biden on Thursday announced a slew of new gun control measures after a recent pair of high-profile mass shootings, and insisted the Second Amendment doesn’t grant an absolute right to own guns.

Biden presented the executive actions in the Rose Garden, joined by Attorney General Merrick Garland and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“No amendment to the Constitution is absolute,” Biden maintained, pointing to the famous Supreme Court ruling that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater as part of the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

“From the very beginning you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own, and from the very beginning of [when] the Second Amendment existed certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons. So the idea is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution,” he said.  “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment.”

Harris, a former prosecutor, said, “I’ve looked at autopsy photographs. I’ve seen with my own two eyes what a bullet can do to the human body.”

“Real people on both sides of the aisle want action,” Harris said. “So all that is left is the will and the courage to act. And President Joe Biden has the will and the courage to act.”

The most widely anticipated measure instructs the Justice Department to issue a proposed regulation within 30 days to undermine the at-home manufacture of so-called “ghost guns,” which can be made with equipment that drills and folds metal parts. Activists who oppose gun control have promoted the technology.

“Anyone from a criminal to a terrorist can buy this kit [and in] as little as 30 minutes put together a weapon,” Biden said. “I want to see these kits treated as firearms.”

Another action orders the Justice Department to issue a regulation within 60 days that would “make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”

The White House said in a fact sheet, “The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.” However, the alleged gunman passed a federal background check before purchasing his weapon and it’s unclear if the new policy could have meaningfully altered the tragedy.

Another Biden rule orders the Justice Department to propose model legislation on “red flag” laws that states would have the option of adopting. The president said he also wants a national red flag law.

“Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others,” the White House fact sheet said.

Biden also is ordering a report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on the illegal firearms trade. And on Wednesday, Biden announced that he would nominate gun control advocate David Chipman to lead the ATF.

Gun control gained political momentum after the massacre of 10 people at a Boulder, Colo., grocery store last month and the mu... (Read more)