Biden news today: President unveils ‘ghost guns’ plan and names new ATF nominee with rallying cry to ‘fund the police’


War in Ukraine ‘far from over’, says Joe Biden

President Joe Biden announced new gun regulations on Monday to rein in so-called “ghost guns” – privately made firearms without serial numbers that have been used in several high-profile violent crimes.

Mr Biden also nominated Steve Dettlebach, an Obama-era US attorney, to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, making the announcement at an event in the grounds of the White House.

The ceremony was attended by survivors of and family members left bereaved by mass shootings including the Parkland school massacre and the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Also on Monday, the president held a virtual bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The pair discussed a wide range of issues including touching on Ukraine and hinted at meeting in person in May at the Quad nations summit in Tokyo.

Mr Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have both tested negative for Covid-19, according to the White House, meaning they have so far escaped something of an outbreak among the DC political class. Among those recently testing positive are White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock.

Follow live updates below


Analysis: How Washington gave up on the pandemic

The Independent’s senior Washington correspondent Eric Garcia has been reporting on the rash of Covid-19 diagnoses among the DC power elite in recent days, and has this analysis to offer.

The fact that Covid is mowing through the District indiscriminately seems to have failed to move Washington. A massive superspreader event among Washington’s elites did not trigger a moment where they set aside partisan differences to focus on passing relief; if anything, it made Republicans dig their heels in on immigration. Meanwhile, many Democrats, including ones in difficult races, say that the Covid relief effort and the administration’s actions on immigration are unrelated.

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 16:00


Democrat challenging Chuck Grassley barred from ballot over three signatures

Abby Finkenauer, who is running to challenge the longest-serving Republican senator, Iowan Chuck Grassley, has been dealt a serious blow by a judge who has ruled her ineligible for the Democratic primary ballot.

Ms Finkenauer was challenged by Republicans who claimed she did not submit enough valid signatures to become a candidate – and the case ultimately came down to three signatures that did not include the date.

According to the Des Moines Register, the judge recognised how galling the ruling was.

“The Court takes no joy in this conclusion,” wrote the judge. “This Court should not be in the position to make a difference in an election, and Ms. Finkenauer and her supporters should have a chance to advance her candidacy. However, this Court’s job is to sit as a referee and apply the law without passion or prejudice. It is required to rule without consideration of the politics of the day.”

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 15:36


Also at Biden’s gun event: Pulse nightclub shooting survivor

Among the numerous attendees of Joe Biden’s gun safety announcement later will be Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 15:02


Parent of school shooting victims in DC for gun safety announcement

Gun safety campaigner Fred Guttenberg, who lost two children in the Parkland school shooting, is in Washington, DC for Joe Biden’s announcement of new measures designed to curb the spread of weapons that end up being used in deadly crimes.

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 14:30


Report: US government paid SpaceX to send Starlink to Ukraine

Elon Musk’s technology company SpaceX was praised for a charitable act in February when it sent hundreds of Starlink terminals to Ukraine to help maintain internet access in the country as it came under Russian assault. However, it has now emerged that the shipment of terminals was in fact delivered via a “public-private partnership” with the US government.

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 14:00


Watch: Ketanji Brown Jackson celebrates confirmation

After Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris hosted her for a jubilant appearance outside the White House where the judge reflected on the deep import of her rise to the highest court in the leand.

“I have achieved something far beyond anything my grandparents could have possibly ever imagined,” she said. “But no-one does this on their own…

“We have come a long way toward perfecting our union. In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 13:25


ICYMI: Officers cleared of assault during George Floyd protests

Two police officers in Buffalo, New York who were caught on camera pushing a 75-year-old racial justice protester to the ground have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

According to an arbitrator, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski were justified in pushing Mr Gugino during the protest in downtown Buffalo in New York, as the protester refused to comply with the orders and acted erratically.

The video of the interaction was one of
many shocking clips of police-protester encounters during the summer of 2020, which saw Black Lives Matter demonstrators and others met with often draconian and sometimes brutal reprisals when they took to the streets to protest police violence.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar has the story.

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 12:50


Watch: Jake Sullivan on expelling Russian “diplomats”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan made the rounds on the Sunday shows, where he was asked about aspects of the Ukrainian conflict covering military aid, Vladimir Putin’s role in alleged war crimes, and the question of whether the mass murder uncovered in various Ukrainian cities could constitute genocide.

He also explained that the US is prepared to continue throwing out Russian government employees who are found to be engaging in espionage on behalf of the Kremlin.

US will ‘not hesitate’ to expel more Russian diplomats

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 12:19


Subscribe to The Independent’s new US newsletter

Today, The Independent is launching the new US morning headlines newsletter, which lands in subscribers’ inboxes at 7am ET every weekday to bring you up to date with the biggest stories, exclusives, explainers, and the big questions of the day.

To sign up and start your day in the know, add your email to the sign up box at the top of this article or via our newsletters page. US morning headlines will land in your inbox at 7am ET every weekday.

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 11:45


What are “ghost guns” and what is the White House planning?

The White House has released the beginnings of Joe Biden’s plan to crack down on “ghost guns”, privately made firearms with no serial numbers that a briefing describes as “the weapon of choice for violent criminals”.

According to the White House, a new rule introduced by the Justice Department will target both existing guns and the business of manufacturing them, including “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.”

This rule builds on the Biden Administration’s prior executive action to rein in the proliferation of ghost guns. In February 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative, which is training a national cadre of prosecutors and disseminating investigation and prosecution tool to help bring cases against those who use ghost guns to commit crimes. As President Biden said during an event at the New York Police Department headquarters, if you use a ghost gun to commit a crime “not only are state and local prosecutors going to come after you, but expect federal charges and federal prosecution as well.”

Read the White House’s full fact sheet here.

Ghost guns on display by the San Francisco Police Department in 2019

(Haven Daley/AP)

Andrew Naughtie11 April 2022 11:23


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