Democrats urge Biden to take executive action on assault-style firearms

A group of more than 100 House Democrats on Wednesday urged President Biden to take executive action on regulating concealable assault-style firearms, after that type of weapon was used in the recent shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colo.

In a letter to Biden led by Reps. Mike Thompson (Calif.), Joe Neguse (Colo.), Val Demings (Fla.) and Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Democratic lawmakers called for action to ensure gun manufacturers can't evade regulations surrounding certain types of firearms, particularly in the National Firearms Act.

Thompson is chairman of the House Democrats' Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, while Neguse represents Boulder, where 10 people, including a police officer, were killed when a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store last week.

"For too long, gun manufacturers in order to circumvent the National Firearms Act have designed and marketed concealable AR-15 style firearms which fire rifle rounds," the lawmakers wrote. "Concealable assault-style firearms that fire rifle rounds pose an unreasonable threat to our communities and should be fully regulated under the National Firearms Act consistent with the intent and history of the law."

Firearms subject to the National Firearms Act require a background check with photo identification and fingerprints, as well as registration with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Boulder police have said that the semi-automatic Ruger AR-556 pistol allegedly used in the March 22 shooting by suspected gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was purchased legally at a gun store.

Alissa has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, as well as one count of attempted murder.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the administration is "working on a couple of levers" to enact new gun control measures in the wake of the Boulder shooting as well as shootings at three spas near Atlanta earlier this month. One of those efforts, she said, includes working with Congress on legislation.

"While that is moving, while there are discussions on that front — and the president will certainly be engaged in those — we are also continuing to review and consider what the options are for executive actions," Psaki said, although she declined to offer a timeline.

The House passed two gun control bills this month: one that would expand background checks to guns bought over the internet and at gun shows, and another that would extend the review period for a background check from the current three days to 10 days.

The Senate, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, has yet to take up either of the bills. It's unclear whether Democrats can secure at least 10 votes from Republicans to overcome a GOP filibuster.

But Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to take up gun control legislation.

"Make no mistake: Under the Democratic majority, the Senate will debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country," Schumer said on the Senate floor last week.

Content originally published by The Hill on March 31, 2021.

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