Durbin Statement On Biden Announcements To Combat Gun Crime

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after President Biden announced additional steps the Administration is taking to combat gun violence and violent crime:


“Just this morning, new reporting by The Trace revealed that some of the most notorious sellers of crime guns used in Chicago and across the Midwest received little to no consequences for serious violations of federal law, including selling to straw purchasers, transferring guns without background checks, and doctoring sales records.  President Biden’s latest administrative actions are critical steps to help stop the proliferation of untraceable ghost guns and hold those who break the law responsible.


“Confirming a qualified nominee to lead ATF should be a unifying priority in the Senate, yet the problem is the same one that has foiled ATF confirmations since 2015: the gun lobby.  Mr. Dettelbach is a highly respected former U.S. Attorney and career prosecutor who has taken a leading role in countering extremism, including religious-motivated violence and domestic terrorism.  He is well equipped to lead this agency and enforce the laws on the books to help reduce illicit gun trafficking and straw purchases.”


Today’s announcements by the White House include:

  • Nominating Steve Dettelbach to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
  • Announcing that the U.S. Department of Justice has issued a final rule to rein in the proliferation of “ghost guns”
  • Additional executive action to reduce gun violence, including
    • Updating the regulatory definitions of “frame” and “receiver” to ensure that firearms with split receivers are subject to regulations requiring serial numbers and background checks when purchased from a licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer; and
    • Requiring federally licensed firearms dealers to retain key records until they shut down their business or licensed activity to make it easier for law enforcement to trace firearms found at crime scenes.


Last May, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing entitled “Stop Gun Violence: Ghost Guns.”  In December, Durbin held a field hearing in Chicago on combatting gun trafficking and reducing violence, during which Durbin noted that the urgency of Chicago’s gun trafficking problem was made clear on August 7, 2021, when a man with a gun that was straw-purchased from Indiana shot and killed Chicago Police Department (CPD) Officer Ella French and wounded Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. during a traffic stop.