The Biden administration announced nearly a half dozen executive actions on Thursday aimed at confronting gun violence in the United States. President Joe Biden called gun violence a “public health crisis” and argued that none of the White House’s actions would infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
The announcement spurred gun rights groups to threaten legal actions against the White House, while advocates for gun control said Thursday’s announcement was a good start to curb gun violence in the country.
Here’s what gun rights and gun control advocates said about Biden’s executive actions:
Second Amendment groups threaten legal action
Gun Owners of America — a Second Amendment lobbying organization founded in 1976 — said it would “spare no expense to defeat Biden’s tyrannical agenda and will rally gun owners and Second Amendment supporters nationwide to defend the right to keep and bear arms.”
- “Gun Owners of America is wholeheartedly opposed to the unconstitutional gun control threatened today by President Biden — restrictions such as the attacks on homemade and brace equipped firearms and so-called ‘Red Flag’ gun confiscation orders,” said GOA senior vice president Eric Pratt in a statement.
- In a separate statement Thursday — in what it called a “National Alert” — the lobbying group requested donations to “secure funds for our legal team as we continue to rein in this rabidly anti-gun administration.”
The Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights legal action and lobbying group, “warned the Biden administration that if it steps over its legal authority with any executive action or order regarding the constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, legal action is a certainty.”
- “The devil will be in the details,” said Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president, in a statement Thursday. “Our legal team will review them and we are prepared to file suit if Biden and his administration steps over their legal authority.”
- “Joe Biden just nominated a man now working for the Giffords gun control lobbying group to head the agency responsible for gun law enforcement,” Gottlieb said in the statement, referring to David Chipman. Biden had also announced his nomination of Chipman — a former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent and gun control advocate — as his nominee to lead the ATF on Thursday.
- “That’s not just a bad signal to gun owners. The president has essentially raised the black flag, and we see nothing positive for American gun owners or the firearms industry,” Gottlieb added.
Gun control advocates say it’s a good start
Everytown for Gun Safety — which calls itself “the largest gun violence prevention organization in America” — said it was “glad to hear the administration’s commitment that today’s actions are just the beginning, and look forward to continuing to work closely with them to end gun violence in this country.”
- “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,” Everytown for Gun Safety president John Feinblatt in a statement Thursday.
- “We are also thrilled about the nomination of David Chipman to head the ATF, whose extensive law enforcement experience makes him uniquely qualified for the job,” Feinblatt said in the statement. “David will be an invaluable point person as this administration looks to fight illegal gun trafficking and end the special treatment of the gun industry.”
President Biden’s announced actions “represent the administration’s sincere commitment to ending this epidemic, and are critical steps in the right direction,” said Giffords — a gun control nonprofit led by former congresswoman and mass shooting survivor Gabby Giffords — on its website.
- “I’m with you, Joe. Together, we will protect our country from gun violence,” the former congresswoman said on Twitter. Giffords attended the White House Rose Garden address Thursday.
- “Days like today are why we fought so hard to bring a gun safety champion to the White House. These executive actions help address a crisis that devastates communities across the country on a daily basis. Today we have hope that a brighter future is in store,” Giffords said in a statement.
- Chipman, Biden’s ATF director nominee, is currently a senior policy adviser for Giffords.