Democrats and Republicans in Congress provided mixed reactions to President Biden’s announcement about executive actions concerning guns Thursday; Democrats praised the measures as “progress,” while Republicans warned it is just the beginning of the radical left’s efforts to “take your guns.”
In an address Thursday, Biden described U.S. gun violence as an “epidemic” and “international embarrassment.” His executive actions, as the White House outlined, focus on “ghost guns” and directing the Department of Justice to publish a model of “red flag” legislation for states, which allow family members or law enforcement to “petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.” Meanwhile, Biden is also urging Congress to pass a national “red flag” law.
Biden said during his address he will “use all the resources at [his] disposal as President to keep the American people safe from gun violence.” Congress, he added, must act, as well.
“They can do it right now. They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they have passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence,” he said, contending it is not a partisan issue.
“This is not a partisan issue among the American people. This is a view by the American people as an American issue. And I’m willing to work with anyone to get these done. And it’s long past time that we act,” Biden said.
However, the announcement drew sharp partisan reactions, as Democrats expressed gratitude for Biden’s actions and the GOP warned of massive government overreach.
“When it comes to the sickening gun violence in our streets we have a choice: give up or stand up,” Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) said in a statement.
“POTUS has committed to common sense, constitutional steps to stop this uniquely American gun madness. It’s time for Congress to stop making excuses and start making our nation safer,” he added:
When it comes to the sickening gun violence in our streets we have a choice: give up or stand up. POTUS has committed to common sense, constitutional steps to stop this uniquely American gun madness. It’s time for Congress to stop making excuses and start making our nation safer. https://t.co/FZuaEcRI9j
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) April 8, 2021
“We celebrate this progress, because it will save lives & so many sacrificed so much just to get us here. Thank you,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said as others joined in:
— Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@RepDWStweets) April 8, 2021
Guns in the wrong hands kill innocent people. President Biden’s orders are measured, evidence-based, and carefully targeted. Simply put, they will save lives.
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) April 8, 2021
In just FOUR MONTHS, there have been over 100 mass shootings in the United States.
If you don’t think that there is a gun violence problem in America, you are not 👏 paying 👏 attention.https://t.co/9juy8FE6be
— House Democrats (@HouseDemocrats) April 8, 2021
Today, President Biden is announcing key steps to address gun violence by investing in community-based interventions, stopping untraceable ghost guns, and keeping guns out of dangerous hands.
These actions will save lives and protect our communities.https://t.co/GkRQiwsJxe
— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) April 8, 2021
Enough thoughts & prayers. Congress must act on gun violence.
— Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) April 8, 2021
The epidemic of gun violence is a uniquely American problem that claims thousands of lives a year. Last month, @RepDwightEvans & I reintroduced the Resources for Victims of Gun Violence Act to establish an interagency council to help victims find the resources needed to recover.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) April 8, 2021
Gun violence is an epidemic—and the American people want Congress and the administration to take action.
— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) April 8, 2021
As a Co-lead of the “Ghost Guns Are Guns Act,” I am thrilled to see President Biden taking action on ghost guns to prevent gun violence. https://t.co/8oPW8CdPIt
— Rep. Brad Schneider (@RepSchneider) April 8, 2021
Let’s normalize gun laws that protect our communities — and let’s start today. #GunReformNow
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) April 8, 2021
Ghost guns are guns too.
The time for action is now.
— Adriano Espaillat (@RepEspaillat) April 8, 2021
Republicans, however, warned Biden is taking serious missteps.
“Biden’s executive orders have hurt our economy, devastated energy producers, and undermined states’ rights,” House Republicans said. “Now, President Biden is taking unilateral action to infringe on American’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms”:
Biden’s executive orders have hurt our economy, devastated energy producers, and undermined states’ rights.
Now, President Biden is taking unilateral action to infringe on American’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) April 8, 2021
“First, they won’t protect your border. Now, they want to take your guns,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) warned:
First, they won’t protect your border. Now, they want to take your guns.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) April 8, 2021
You aren’t taking the guns of law-abiding citizens or our right to bear arms, Mr. President. https://t.co/8xry7gKl3K
— Mike Rogers (@RepMikeRogersAL) April 8, 2021
President Biden’s executive order infringes on law abiding citizens’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and is unacceptable. I will always stand up for our Second Amendment rights!
— Rep. Diana Harshbarger (@RepHarshbarger) April 8, 2021
President Biden and other Democrat leaders undermine public safety by being soft on crime and refusing to secure the border. At the same time, they work to defund the police and restrict 2nd Amendment rights.
Why are law-abiding Americans always their lowest priority?
— Rep. Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyPA) April 8, 2021
Extreme gun control legislation isn’t the answer to stopping gun violence. Look at the cities in America with the most severe gun laws and you’ll see that those same cities have the highest violent crime rates in the country. https://t.co/IZQl4byfvI
— Robert Aderholt (@Robert_Aderholt) April 8, 2021
Joe Biden wants to take away your guns, even though he doesn’t understand how guns work.
This statement by the President is completely inaccurate and ignorant. https://t.co/z5zRO9Q7lI
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) April 8, 2021
We must protect law abiding citizens constitutional right to bear arms.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) April 8, 2021
On Thursday, CNN suggested Biden’s executive gun control measures fall “far short of the ambitious goals he outlined as a presidential candidate.”