House Democrats Ask Biden to Take Executive Action on ‘Concealable Assault-Style Firearms’

April 1, 2021 Updated: April 1, 2021

A group of House Democrats has asked President Joe Biden to take executive action on “concealable assault-style firearms,” citing two mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, last month.

“Concealable assault-style firearms that fire rifle rounds pose an unreasonable threat to our communities and should be fully regulated under the National Firearms Act consistent with the intent and history of the law. The recent tragedy in Boulder, Colorado where 10 people including a police officer were killed is one in a string of deadly incidents involving this style of weapon,” Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) said in a letter to Biden.

They said that because alleged Boulder gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa used a semi-automatic Ruger AR-556 pistol, which is a smaller variant of an AR-15-style rifle, either Congress or Biden should take action.

The term “assault weapon” is considered controversial as the definition of what an “assault weapon” actually is has varied over the years. Some states and jurisdictions have bans on such a class of weapons but have different definitions.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that Biden is considering using an executive order on some form of gun control. The Democrat-controlled House last month passed two gun background check measures.

“While that is moving, while there are discussions on that front—and the president will certainly be engaged in those—we are also continuing to review and consider what the options are for executive actions,” Psaki said Tuesday.

A separate group of House Democrats have called on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to bring the two House background check measures to the Senate floor.

“In honor of those who have been murdered in their workplaces, grocery stores, and neighborhoods since March 11 and the generations of Americans lost to gun violence, the Senate must act and bring H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 for a vote,” their letter read.

Amid the gun control push, gun sales have been booming. The FBI on Thursday reported that federal background checks totaled about 4.69 million in March 2021, which is about a 10 percent increase over March 2020.

Several prominent Republicans, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah), meanwhile, accused Democratic lawmakers and officials of having little knowledge of firearms. In a video released by the National Rifle Association (NRA) this week, Cruz said that Democrats “want to disarm you. Not because you’re violent. Not because you’re a criminal. But because you are a free and independent American.”