Justice Department unveils new rules to curb gun violence

A woman holds a sign at a memorial vigil for nine slain transit workers, in San Jose, Calif., on May 27 after a co-worker shot and killed nine employees before killing himself at the VTA light rail yard a day prior. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

June 8 (UPI) — The Justice Department unveiled a new rule proposal to restrict the use of accessories to convert pistols into rifles as well as a model legislation for states to use to adopt their own so-called red flag laws as the Biden administration seeks to fight gun violence in the country.

In a statement on Monday, the Justice Department proposed a new rule that seeks to clarify and heighten regulations for pistols converted via accessories into short-barreled rifles that are “dangerous and easily concealable weapons.”

The proposed rule specifically clarifies that restrictions on short-barreled rifles apply to pistols equipped with stabilizing braces that enable the weapon to be fired from one’s shoulder.

The department proposed the rule change, arguing that the converted weapon is more likely to be used to commit crime as companies now sell these accessories without employing a background check and registration requirements.

“These requirements are important public safety measures because they regulate the transfer of these dangerous weapons and help ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands,” the Justice Department said. “The proposed rule would clarify when these attached accessories convert pistols into weapons covered by these heightened regulations.”

The department also unveiled model legislation for states to fashion their own “extreme risk protection order” laws, known generally as “red flag” laws as they aim to prevent guns from ending up in the hands of those in crisis before they either seriously injure themselves or others.

The rule authorizes courts to temporarily prevent people in crisis from accessing firearms and allows family members or law enforcement to apply to the courts to intervene “before warning signs turn into tragedy,” it said.

“The Justice Department is determined to take concrete steps to reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in our communities,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today, we continue to deliver on our promise to help save lives while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americas.”

The announcement was made exactly a month after the Justice Department announced a proposed rule that seeks to close the so-called ghost gun loophole to ensure serial numbers are printed on the frames or receivers of guns included in firearms kits.

The initiatives were announced as the country continues to experience an increase in deadly shootings throughout the United States.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 258 mass shootings during the first 158 days of the year, more than half of the 417 seen last year, which was a six-year high.

The shootings prompted President Joe Biden in April to sign six executive actions to address “the gun violence public health epidemic.”

Among changes in the orders include those sought by the Justice Department on ghost guns, pistols converted into short-barreled rifles and red flag laws.


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