President Joe Biden is set to implement new restrictions on so-called "ghost guns" this week in hopes that fresh gun control measures will help combat the ongoing scourge of violence in the country.
What are the details?
In a press conference Monday, the president and the Department of Justice are expected to announce the finalization of a new rule asserting that unfinished gun parts sold in the kits will now qualify as firearms under federal law.
With the rule, the Biden administration reportedly aims to "rein in the proliferation" of "ghost guns," or privately made, non-serialized guns, which they say have been turning up at crime scenes more frequently over the last year.
In essence, it will require those who manufacture and sell guns from kits to be licensed and add serial numbers to the products so that the weapons can be traced.
"This final rule bans the business of manufacturing the most accessible ghost guns, such as unserialized 'buy build shoot' kits that individuals can buy online or at a store without a background check and can readily assemble into a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes with equipment they have at home," the White House announced in a news release.
"This rule clarifies that these kits qualify as 'firearms' under the Gun Control Act, and that commercial manufacturers of such kits must therefore become licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, and commercial sellers of these kits must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to a sale — just like they have to do with other commercially-made firearms," it continued.
The rule was first issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives last May and has been making its way through the federal regulatory process for nearly a year.
In addition to the new federal rule, Biden plans to call on Congress to "ban the sale and possession of unserialized firearms" as well as "assault weapons and high-capacity magazines."
What is the reaction?
Gun control advocates have praised the forthcoming rule as a way to combat crime in the country. But Republicans argue that Democrats are merely using rising crime as a foil in order to ram through their real agenda; which is to further restrict Americans' Second Amendment rights.
Gun rights advocates have long decried leftist attempts to restrict Americans' Second Amendment rights in this way, calling the private manufacture of firearms "something that's been legal since the founding of the country."
In response to the news, conservative Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) reiterated that claim and further slammed the president for bypassing Congress to implement what effectively amounts to gun control legislation.
"The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to prevent you from making your own firearm. This [is] a fact that has been recognized for 200+ years. Also, Article 1, Section 1 (literally the first operative sentence in the Constitution) says Congress makes law, not POTUS!" Rep. Thomas Massie wrote in a tweet.
Other gun-rights advocates and groups have also expressed opposition to the rule.
According to USA Today, Gun Owners of America has vowed to immediately sue to halt the new regulations and has called on Congress to block the implementation of the rule using the Congressional Review Act.
In a statement to Fox News, the National Rifle Association discredited Biden's claims that the new rule will help combat crime.
"An administration that’s truly sincere and resolute about curbing violent crime rates would do one thing: take violent criminals off the streets immediately," NRA managing director of public affairs Andrew Arulanandam said. "Yet, the Biden administration allows these criminals who kill and maim with callous and reckless abandon, again and again, to roam the streets of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and other cities large and small across our country without fear of prosecution and punishment."
During the press conference, Biden and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will also announce the president's nomination of former U.S. attorney Steve Dettelbach to serve as his ATF director.
The White House was forced to withdraw Biden's previous nominee, David Chipman, in September, after the progressive former ATF agent faced unanimous opposition from Republicans in the Senate.