President Biden on Thursday, in rolling out a set of executive orders on gun control, said "no amendment is absolute," while maintaining that "nothing" he is recommending "impinges" on the Second Amendment.
"Today we're taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis," Biden said from the White House Thursday.
"Nothing, nothing I am about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment," the president said, calling arguments suggesting that those constitutional rights are at stake "phony."
"No amendment, no amendment to the Constitution is absolute," he said. "You can’t yell 'fire' in a crowded movie theater — recall a freedom of speech. From the very beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. From the very beginning that the Second Amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons."
He added: "So the idea is just bizarre, to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution."
The president went on to call gun violence in the United States "an epidemic."
"Let me say it again, gun violence in this country is an epidemic," Biden said. "And it’s an international embarrassment."
Biden announced a set of executive actions and legislative proposals on gun control Thursday.
Biden is asking that the Justice Department, within a month, propose a rule to stop "ghost guns," which are "kits" people can buy legally then fully assemble to create a functioning firearm that does not have a serial number.
Biden is also asking the DOJ within 60 days to propose a rule on braces used for handguns, which make them more accurate; proposing action on "community violence intervention"; asking the DOJ to publish suggestions for "red flag" legislation; and having his administration issue a report on gun trafficking.
Biden also formally announced David Chipman as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
A senior administration official Wednesday said that Chipman will respect the Second Amendment while he enforces gun laws.
"I've seen with my own two lives what a bullet can do to the human body ... and I've fought my entire career to fight this violence and to pass reasonable gun safety" measures," Vice President Harris said as she introduced Biden.
"What are we waiting for? Cause we aren't waiting or a tragedy... We've had more tragedy than we can bear," she said. "The solutions exist... people on both sides of the aisle want action, real people ... so all that is left is the will and the courage to act."
The Biden administration is also expected to throw its weight behind gun control proposals in Congress.
Republicans, meanwhile, have expressed their suspicion of Biden's agenda, which goes much further than the actions he is announcing Thursday. The president has said he supports an assault weapons ban, voluntary buybacks of assault weapons, wants to repeal a law that prevents gun manufacturers from being sued for crimes people commit with guns, and much more.
"By appointing the anti-gun Merrick Garland as attorney general and nominating David Chipman — formerly a senior staffer at the leading gun control lobby — to head ATF, Biden has made clear his sights are set on restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners while ignoring criminals and foregoing substantive measures that will actually keep Americans safe," the National Rifle Association (NRA) said in a statement.
"Further, the proposals Biden announced tonight could require law-abiding citizens to surrender lawful property and enable states to expand gun confiscation orders. The NRA will fight this nomination and ill-conceived executive actions," the NRA also said.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Brittany De Lea, Sally Persons and Kristina Biddle contributed to this report.