Credit: Ellen Eldridge/GPB file photo
Biden Administration To Suggest Model 'Red Flag' Gun Laws For States
The Department of Justice is set to distribute model “red flag” legislation to states so they can enact laws to allow courts to temporarily remove a firearm from a person who is distressed, according to senior Biden administration officials.
“The president will not wait for Congress to act before the administration takes our own steps, fully within the administration’s authority and the Second Amendment, to save lives,” a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday night.
The move on red flag laws is among several steps the administration is taking on gun violence, and follows deadly mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., last month, as well as an increase in homicides in the U.S. that administration officials said disproportionately affects Black and brown Americans.
Within 60 days, the Justice Department will publish model red flag legislation for states. At the same time, President Joe Biden is also urging Congress to pass a federal law to allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove any firearms from individuals who are a danger to themselves or others.
Gun restrictions including, red flag legislation, face tough opposition in Georgia’s GOP-controlled General Assembly. A slate of gun regulation bills Democrats filed after last month’s mass shooting at three Atlanta-area spas came too late in the 2021 legislative session even if the political will existed.
Biden is also planning to announce his nomination of Michigan native David Chipman, a gun violence prevention advocate, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, senior administration officials said.
“There’s no one better to lead ATF right now. He will help the federal government better enforce our gun laws while respecting the Second Amendment,” a senior administration official said.
Chipman worked as a special federal agent at ATF for 25 years and is currently a senior policy adviser at Giffords, a gun violence prevention advocacy group founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, (D-Ariz.), and her husband, U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, (D-Ariz.). Giffords in 2011 was shot in the head by a gunman while at a constituent event in Tucson and now leads the advocacy group.
The Biden administration will also direct the DOJ to issue a proposed rule within 30 days that will stop the proliferation of “ghost guns,” which are homemade guns that lack a serial number, making them difficult for law enforcement to trace.
The justice department is also expected to release an annual report on firearm trafficking— the last report was done in 2000.
The administration in addition is proposing a $5 billion investment over eight years in the American Jobs Plan in evidence-based community violence interventions, such as helping connect people to job training and job opportunities.
The Department of Health and Human Services will organize a webinar to help states understand how they can use Medicaid reimbursements for intervention programs.
A week before the Colorado mass shooting, another mass shooting in Atlanta left six women of Asian descent dead, as well as two other people.
Georgia Recorder Editor John McCosh contributed to this report.
This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Georgia Recorder.