Now that Democrats control both Congress and the presidency they have been explaining how they are going be able to get gun control legislation passed. With Michael Bloomberg having spent over $600 million pushing for Biden to become president (over $125 million just in Florida) and spending large amounts on getting Democrats elected to other offices, gun control is obviously going to be near the top of Democrats agenda.
A press briefing at the White House yesterday made it very clear that we will be facing a lot of new gun control measures.
“Yesterday, senior members of his [Biden’s] team, Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, White House Public Engagement Director Cedric Richmond hosted a virtual discussion with leaders of gun violence prevention groups to discuss our shared goals. The very gun violence prevention organization named for James Brady was part of that discussion, along with Giffords, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Moms Demand Action. These organizations all have a critical role to play. Guns might not be in the headlines today or right now, but gun violence continues to fracture American communities and American Families every single day. Last year we saw a historic spike in homicides across America and we know gun violence in our cities disproportionately affects black and brown individuals. Last month we also saw a near-record increase in gun sales. We look forward to working with gun violence survivors and advocates and sharing more in the weeks and months ahead.”Presidential Spokesperson Jen Psaki said at the beginning of her briefing on February 11th, 2021.
In response to the meeting, John Feinblatt, president of Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown, discussed how happy he was with the meeting:
“This meeting provided more evidence that the Biden Administration is committed to being the strongest we’ve ever seen on gun safety,. With Covid making gun violence worse and armed extremists literally holding our democracy at gunpoint, the time for action is now –– and we fully expect to see it soon.”John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, press release, February 10, 2021.
How they plan on getting gun control passed
For some reason, the Las Vegas Sun interviewed Joe Biden on January 11, 2020 but only decided to publish the entire interview on January 31, 2021. Among the interesting points in the interview was Biden explaining how he is going to be able to get major gun control legislation passed.
An overwhelming majority of NRA members thought we should do away with assault weapons.
There’s no rationale whatsoever to have more than 10 rounds in a magazine, and even that is too much in my view. . . .
we have the capacity now to build any weapon where it can only be fired with your biometric marker. And that technology doesn’t violate anyone’s Second Amendment right at all. If you pass the background check, you can purchase a weapon which only you can pull the trigger.
So I am absolutely convinced I can get (gun-safety legislation) passed. The way we did it last time is we included it in a larger bill that had really good things in it like the Violence Against Women Act, community policing, etc.
So the way you give cover to some of our Republican friends who are scared of the NRA — and this outfit owns the White House right now — is you put it in a larger bill. So they (Republicans) say, “Look, I had to vote for it.”Sun Staff, “Sun’s 2020 sit-down with Joe Biden shines a light on how he will lead the country,” Las Vegas Sun, Sunday, January 31, 2021.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has a slightly different approach — attaching gun control to the budget reconciliation bill that can’t be filibustered. While reconciliation is supposed to limited to purely budget or tax issues, it is possible that Democrats could change their gun control proposals so that meet that criteria. For example, Blumenthal wants to push something called Ethan’s Law, which would mandate all households with children under the age of 18 to lock all firearms. His bill could be changed so that Federal funding would be withheld from states that do not adopt these gunlock laws. Of course, we have written on this multiple times and discussed how these laws actually endanger people’s lives.
Here is a discussion from Michael Bloomberg’s The Trace. They threaten that “if Republicans repeatedly hold up action on bills that are important to Democrats, ‘we may end up seeing the attitudes of a few Democrats changing on the filibuster.’” Many, such as law professor John Donohue, are pushing actively for the elimination of the filibuster. Donohue says: “I think it’s the only way that Biden can have an effective presidency.”
The article quotes Blumenthal as offering another option.
Senate Democrats could advance gun reform legislation via the budget reconciliation process, which allows the Senate to pass tax and spending bills with a simple majority vote. Blumenthal says Ethan’s Law has a good chance of passing that way.
Budget reconciliation has never been used to pass a gun measure before, so it would set a precedent if Democrats go this route. As [Pro. Stephen] Smith put it: “Democrats are thinking far more creatively about this process than they have in the past.”Jennifer Mascia, “What Senate Democrats Say They Can (Maybe) Get Done on Gun Reform,” The Trace, February 10, 2021.
- The Biden administration has already moved to reinstitute Operation Choke Point. The Trump administration had tried to “bar banks from refusing to deal with firms in businesses such as those in the oil, firearms and prison industries.” The rule was finalized at the end of the administration, but the Biden administration killed the rule.
- Ban the importation of a much wider selection of guns.
- Change the definition of what is classified as a gun seller to make a much broader selection of people covered by regulations.
- Shut down the no-questions-asked marketplace for ghost gun parts and kits by directing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to ensure the background check system covers all firearms, including the core parts and kits used to build untraceable ghost guns.
- Address the so-called Charleston loophole, which supposedly enables illegal sales to go forward before a check is complete, by requiring all gun dealers to notify the Department of Justice (DOJ) before such a sale, prioritizing completing those background checks, and ensuring no background checks are deleted before completion. The Charleston loophole never actually occurred.
- Ensure the background check system has all of the prohibiting records it needs by having DOJ interpret the law to cover all prohibited purchasers and encouraging states and federal agencies to submit relevant records