WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to announce Thursday executive actions involving gun control as well as nominate a new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to a White House official.
The actions will involve regulating “ghost guns,” which are homemade guns that do not have traceable serial number, as well as background checks. Biden will also name David Chipman as his nominee to take over ATF.
The announcement comes as Biden faces pressure from Democrats and gun control activists to take action to address gun violence in the wake of recent mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado and California.
Chipman currently serves as senior policy adviser at Giffords, the gun control advocacy group led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. He previously served 25 years as a special agent at ATF.
ATF leaders have historically faced trouble getting confirmed in the Senate. The last head of the bureau to be confirmed was B. Todd Jones in 2013. Before Jones, the bureau went without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years.
Since Jones stepped down in 2015, the ATF has had only acting directors. Regina Lombardo, appointed under Trump, is currently the acting director.
Although Biden promised during his campaign to take a number of action addressing gun control, activists have been dismayed that it had not been an early priority for his administration, especially as the recent mass shootings sparked fresh debate on how to tackle gun violence.
At a press conference in late March, Biden indicated that he was focused on legislative priorities other than gun control, such as his infrastructure plan.
“It’s a matter of timing,” he said, when asked what actions he might take to tackle gun violence. “As you’ve all observed, successful presidents, better than me, have been successful in large part because they know how to time what they’re doing, order it, decide priorities, what needs to be done.”