BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The National Sports Shooting Federation says firearm sales have spiked to historic highs during the pandemic, and it’s no secret that Kern is a hotspot for gun enthusiasts. As the president takes aim at federal gun laws today, many Kern County residents wonder how new executive orders could impact them. The president’s executive orders come after mass shootings have killed over a dozen Americans this year alone. Meanwhile FBI data suggests Americans are buying firearms at a faster rate than ever.
President Biden says he wants to fight gun violence with a handful of executive orders. One would require restrictions on arm braces which allow shooters to hold pistols like rifles. This comes after a gunman killed 10 people in Boulder, Colorado using this type of weapon.
Another order requires background checks and serial numbers “ghost guns,” firearms sold in parts that customers have to assemble. Experts say the new rules will likely make it easier to track ghost guns down– but law enforcement isn’t finding many of them on the streets in Kern.
“Guns that are being used in violent crimes by gang members are accountable for a lot of our homicides in Kern County. More often than not, I would say, they’re stolen,” said Joseph Kinzel, Deputy District Attorney for Kern County. “They’re not registered to the person who used them.”
The executive order also pushes the federal government to create a model for “red flag” laws like those in California, allowing authorities to take guns away from people courts determine are a threat to themselves and others.
The president also called on congress to ban assault weapons. The Giffords Law Center says criminals use these weapons to commit most mass shootings. But some question how much an assault weapons ban would impact local laws if it passed, since California has already outlawed them.
“If a firearm has certain characteristics it is considered an assault weapon that is banned,” said Kinzel. “The type of stock that a firearm has, the type of handles that a firearm may have.”
Kern County voters have historically opposed efforts to restrict gun sales. Meantime, the White House says it will issue more detailed proposals to tighten gun laws over the next 60 days.