Joe Biden tightens rules against “ghost weapons” in the United States

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While saying he is in favor of the right to own a gun, US President Joe Biden announced on Monday, in the name of “common sense”, a new executive order according to which the spare parts that can be easily assembled into a firearm will be subject to the same requirements than already mounted weapons.

Joe Biden tightened, Monday, April 11, the regulation of so-called “ghost” weapons, which are difficult to spot in the absence of a serial number and can be assembled as a kit at home in just a few minutes.

The US president pointed out, during a White House event bringing together families and loved ones of firearm victims, that the number of these “ghost guns” reported by the police had increased tenfold. in five years, between 2016 and 2021.

While saying he was in favor of the second amendment to the United States Constitution, which establishes the right to own a weapon, he criticized the powerful arms lobby, the NRA, for calling its regulation “extreme”.

“Is it extreme to protect the police? To protect our children? (…) It’s not extreme, it’s common sense,” said the American president, who handled one of these weapons. as a kit in front of the cameras to show how easy assembly is.

According to a new decree, spare parts that can be easily assembled into a firearm will be subject to the same requirements as already assembled weapons. Resellers of such kits will need to conduct background checks on potential buyers or include a serial number on the component parts.

Less than 1%

From January 2016 to December 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was able to trace the owner of a ‘ghost’ weapon in only 0.98% of cases , particularly in homicide and attempted homicide investigations.

According to the organization Gun Violence Archive, more than 11,700 people have died by firearm since the beginning of the year in the United States, including suicides. Over the whole of 2021, the number was 45,000 dead.

But the powers of the executive, beyond certain regulations issued by decree, are limited. Joe Biden on Monday repeated his calls for Congress to ban the sale of assault rifles or impose a universal system of criminal and psychiatric background checks for gun buyers.

Little room for maneuver

These calls are akin to wishful thinking given Joe Biden’s limited parliamentary room for maneuver, particularly in the face of certain elected Republicans who are fiercely opposed to any regulation.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said in a statement that “regulations only make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to have access to guns.” The NRA for its part criticized Joe Biden for unveiling “yet another hollow plan” intended to “please his wealthy pro-gun-fighting supporters.”

Conversely, former House Democrat and shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords welcomed the executive order. “The battle to end gun violence is still long but we have won an important victory,” she wrote on Twitter.

With AFP

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