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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.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

500 Hong Kong police officers raid pro-democracy newspaper

Chief Operations Officer Chow Tat Kuen (front 2nd R) is escorted by police from the Apple Daily newspaper offices before being put into a waiting vehicle in Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong's Apple Daily said 500 police officers searched the pro-democracy newspaper's offices and arrested five senior executives on Thursday.

Why it matters: The arrests of the paper's chief editor, Ryan Law, along with its chief operating officer, two other editors and the CEO of Next Digital, which operates Apple Daily, were made under China's national security law — which gives the government broad power to limit people's political freedom.

World Bank rejects El Salvador's request to help implement bitcoin

President Nayib Bukele, giving a speech in El Salvador's legislative assembly in San Salvado earlier this month, pushed for bitcoin to become legal tender. Photo: Emerson Flores/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images

The World Bank has rejected the government of El Salvador's request to help the country implement Bitcoin as legal tender, Reuters first reported late Wednesday.

Why it matters: The international lender's rejection could hamper the government's goal of making the digital currency accepted across the country within three months.