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President Biden. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden is expected to present a series of executive actions on guns Thursday, including directing his Justice Department to tighten regulations on purchases of so-called “ghost guns."

Why it matters: The president has faced increased pressure from Democrats and gun violence prevention groups to act on the issue following a series of recent high-profile gun tragedies across the U.S.

Details: Biden is using the bully pulpit to issue a number of actions at the executive level while urging Congress to do its part to enact more permanent legislation, which could prove difficult given the split Senate.

  • In what a senior administration official called an “initial” set of actions, the Department of Justice will introduce rules meant to minimize the proliferation of “ghost guns,” which are untraceable firearms assembled from kits.
  • The DOJ will issue a proposed rule within 60 days that would subject any pistol outfitted with a stabilizing brace to the requirement of the National Firearms Act. Such a brace, used by the shooter in March at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., could make a pistol essentially function as a rifle.
  • The DOJ will publish “red flag” legislations for states to model on the local level and will also file a report on firearms trafficking for the first time since 2000.
  • Biden will also announce on Thursday that the administration is investing in evidence-based community violence intervention. The president has proposed a $5 billion investment in such intervention as part of his initial infrastructure proposal.
  • Biden will also nominate a gun control advocate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

What they’re saying: Gun violence prevention advocacy groups are praising the executive actions while indicating there is still room for more action, such as providing more directives to agencies besides the DOJ, like HHS, that also work on the issue.

  • Groups are also calling for a broad, unified national strategy from the White House as well as the appointment of a director specifically focused on gun violence issues.
  • “We've been asking for a long time for them to prioritize this issue, and it's clear that they're going to start doing that,” Max Markham, policy director for March for Our Lives, told Axios.

Go deeper

Biden to nominate gun control advocate to lead ATF

Photo: Leigh Vogel/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will nominate David Chipman, a prominent figure from a gun-control group, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The agency, which has not had a permanent director since 2015, is seen as a force within the government to combat gun violence. The appointment comes after the U.S. has seen a number of high-profile gun-related tragedies in a short period of time.

SoCalGas agrees to $1.8 billion settlement for 2015 gas blowout

An evacuee with a Save Porter Ranch sign outside Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon gate in Porter Ranch in January 2016 as the gas leak continued. Photos: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Southern California Gas Company and its parent company announced Monday they've agreed to pay up to $1.8 billion in settlement claims over the 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility blowout.

Why it matters: Some 100,000 tons of methane, ethane and toxic chemicals poured into the air for 112 days, forcing over 8,000 families to evacuate from their Los Angeles-area homes and sickening thousands of others with headaches, nausea and nosebleeds, per the L.A. Times.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea fires short-range missile to sea, slams "hostile" U.S. policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that North Korea's military had fired a short-range missile toward its eastern sea, per AP.

Why it matters: North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their "hostile policy" against the country.