President Joe Biden on Monday defended his administration’s new rule aimed at ghost guns, pushing back against gun-rights advocates who have labeled it as “extreme.”
Such guns lack serial numbers, can be made at home from kits and are increasingly used in crimes.
“Let me ask you, is it extreme to protect police officers, extreme to protect our children?” the president said in a brief speech at the White House.
“Extreme to keep guns out of the hands of people who couldn’t even pass a background check?”
“It isn’t extreme. It’s just basic common sense,” he added. “If you buy a couch you have to assemble, it’s still a couch.”
The rule targets manufacturers of so-called “buy build shoot” kits, clarifying that these kits qualify as firearms, so companies must be licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, according to a White House statement. It also aims to turn some ghost guns into serialized firearms by requiring federally licensed dealers and gunsmiths that have them to serialize the weapons.
Biden has often advocated for gun-control measures since his inauguration, saying in last month’s State of the Union address that he would crack down on gun trafficking and ghost guns. In that speech, he also called for Congress to pass universal background checks and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and he reiterated those calls on Monday.
From the archives (June 2021): Biden calls for united effort ‘to keep each other safe,’ as he aims to fight gun crime
Also (April 2021): ‘Enough prayers. Time for some action’: Biden announces steps on gun control
In his remarks on Monday, Biden also introduced an Obama-era U.S. attorney, Steve Dettlebach, as his new nominee for running the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The White House in September withdrew its earlier ATF nominee, gun-control advocate David Chipman, after he ran into bipartisan opposition in the Senate.
The National Rifle Association on Monday voiced objections to the administration’s new pick, with the gun-rights group saying on its website: “Like Chipman, Dettelbach is a dedicated gun controller with a background that proves he would be neither fair nor objective as head of ATF.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky was among the Republican lawmakers objecting to Biden’s plan for ghost guns, saying in a tweet that the U.S. Constitution “does not authorize the federal government to prevent you from making your own firearm.”
Shares in gun companies were mixed Monday, as the broad market fell sharply.
Sturm Ruger & Co.’s stock
shed 0.3% and has gained 4% over the past 12 months, and Smith & Wesson Brands Inc.
inched up by less than 0.1% and has lost 18% in 12 months, while the S&P 500
fell 1.4% and has tacked on 7% in 12 months.