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Joe Biden introduces gun control measures after mass shooting

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Joe Biden is taking initial action to address an “epidemic” of gun violence in America which the US president described as “an international embarrassment”.

After another mass shooting claimed five lives, including two children, Mr Biden unveiled six executive orders which do not need Congress approval.

His announcement delivers on a pledge made last month to take immediate “common-sense steps” to address gun violence but fall far short of the sweeping gun-control agenda he laid out on the campaign trail.

“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,” Mr Biden said during remarks at the White House on Thursday (local time).

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“Every day in this country 315 people are shot – every day.

“This is an epidemic for God’s sake. And it has to stop.”

Mr Biden referred to the latest mass shooting involving a former NFL player.

“As I was coming to the Oval Office I got the word that in South Carolina, a physician, with his wife, two grandchildren and a person working at his house were gunned down,” he said.

“So many people sitting here today know what it’s like when the seconds change your life forever.”

In recent months, between the mass killings in Atlanta massage businesses and the Colorado grocery store shooting last month, there were more than 850 additional shootings that killed 250 and injured 500 in the US, Mr Biden explained.

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As part of the measures, Mr Biden is tightening regulations on buyers of “ghost guns” – homemade firearms being taken up by neo-Nazis and that often lack serial numbers, making them difficult to trace them.

It is legal to build a gun in a home or a workshop and there is no federal requirement for a background check.

The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule requiring such gun kits be treated as firearms under the Gun Control Act, which would require that the parts be made with serial numbers and that buyers receive background checks.

A second proposed rule, expected within 60 days, will tighten regulations on pistol-stabilising braces like the one used by the Boulder shooter in a rampage last month that left 10 dead.

The rule will designate pistols used with stabilising braces as short-barrelled rifles, which require a federal licence to own and are subject to a more thorough application process and a $US200 ($262) tax.

The department also is publishing model legislation within 60 days that is intended to make it easier for states to adopt their own “red flag” laws.

Such laws allow for individuals to petition a court to allow the police to confiscate weapons from a person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

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The department also will begin to provide more data on firearms trafficking starting with a new comprehensive report on the issue, something the administration says hasn’t been done in more than two decades.

The Biden administration will also make investments in community violence intervention programs, which are aimed at reducing gun violence in urban communities, across five federal agencies.

Family members whose children were killed at the Sandy Hook, school massacre in Connecticut in 2012 and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018 attended the hearing.

Former NFL player suspect in killing of five

Former NFL player Phillip Adams is considered the main suspect in a South Carolina mass shooting. Photo: AAP

The US gunman who killed five people including a prominent doctor in South Carolina was former NFL player Phillip Adams, who then turned the gun on himself, according to a source who was briefed on the investigation.

Dr Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife Barbara Lesslie, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene along with grandchildren Adah Lesslie, nine, and Noah Lesslie, five, the York County coroner’s office said.

A man who had been working at the home, James Lewis, 38, from Gaston, was found shot to death outside and a sixth person was hospitalised with “serious gunshot wounds,” York County Sheriff’s Office’s spokesperson Trent Faris said.

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Faris said on Thursday that deputies were called about 4.45pm on Wednesday to the Lesslies’ home, and spent hours searching for the suspect before finding him in a nearby home.

Adams, 33, played in 78 NFL games over five seasons for six teams.

A safety and special teams player from South Carolina State, he joined the 49ers in 2010 as a seventh-round draft pick.

Rarely a starter, Adams also was with New England, Seattle, Atlanta, Oakland and the New York Jets, finishing his career with the Falcons in 2015.

As a rookie late in the 2010 season, Adams suffered a severe ankle injury that required surgery that included several screws being inserted into the leg.

Lesslie had worked for decades as an emergency room doctor in Rock Hill, board-certified in both emergency medicine and occupational medicine and serving as emergency department medical director for nearly 15 years at Rock Hill General Hospital, according to his website.

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-with AAP

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