Biden says gun violence in U.S. is an 'embarrassment’

The new measures include plans for the Justice Department to crack down on self-assembled "ghost guns," and make "stabilizing braces" - which effectively turn pistols into rifles - subject to registration under the National Firearms Act.

Biden said he will also ask the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to release an annual report on firearms trafficking in the United States, and make it easier for states to adopt "Red Flag" laws that flag at-risk individuals who own guns.

"Today we're taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis," Biden said, speaking in the Rose Garden to an audience filled with family members of victims of gun violence. He noted another mass shooting in South Carolina this week.

"This is an epidemic for God's sake and it has to stop," Biden said.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. Let me say it again. Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. And it's an international embarrassment. Whether Congress acts or not, I'm going to use all the resources at my disposal as president to keep the American people safe from gun violence.

But there's much more that Congress can do to help that effort, and they can do it right now. They've offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress. But they've passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence. Enough prayers. Time for some action.

We should also ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in this country. For that 10 years we had it done, the number of mass shootings actually went down. Even law enforcement officials have told me and told other champions of this legislation they sometimes feel outgunned by assault weapons with large capacity magazines. There's no reason someone needs a weapon of war with 100 rounds, 100 bullets that can be fired from that weapon.

I know that the conversation about guns in this country can be a difficult one. But even here, there's much more common ground than anyone would believe. There's much more common ground. Everything that's being proposed today is totally consistent with the Second Amendment. And there's a wide consensus behind the need to take action. The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as a nation.