- Republicans were quick to criticize Biden's gun safety executive actions on Thursday.
- GOP governors called the move an "infringement" of Second Amendment rights.
- Biden forcefully rejected the claims on Thursday.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Several high-profile Republicans on Thursday swiftly criticized President Joe Biden's newly announced executive measures aimed at tackling gun violence as unconstitutional.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas described Biden's actions unveiled Thursday as a "liberal power grab" that threatens the right to keep and bear firearms under the Second Amendment - an oft-used GOP argument to reject gun safety reform.
"We will NOT allow this in TX," Abbott tweeted Thursday, adding that he plans to enact legislation that would prevent the state from enforcing any gun measures imposed by the federal government.
Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, a Republican, echoed the stance in a tweet on Thursday and blasted Biden's actions as an "infringement" of the Second Amendment.
"Taking away guns with Red Flag laws is an infringement," Noem wrote. "Placing new limits on firearms sales is an infringement."
-Senator Mike Crapo (@MikeCrapo) April 8, 2021
Biden on Thursday announced six executive actions to address the "epidemic" of gun violence in the United States, which came in the aftermath of two mass shootings in March in Colorado and Georgia that killed 18 people and renewed pressure for gun safety reform.
The measures include upcoming rules from the Justice Department that will help stop the proliferation of "ghost guns" - firearms that can be self-assembled at home without a serial number - and establish tighter restrictions on pistols that resemble rifles.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy weighed in, saying the new rules will "surely result in unconstitutional overreach" and vowed to push back.
"Republicans will strongly oppose and pursue every option-be it legislative or judicial-to protect the right to keep and bear arms," McCarthy tweeted.
Biden also called on the Justice Department to draft model legislation that states can use to implement "red flag" laws, which allow family members and friends to petition a court and bar someone from accessing a gun should they be considered a danger to themselves or others.
Biden said rising gun deaths in the nation is an "international embarrassment" and urged both Congress and states to take comprehensive action to combat the "public health crisis."
Donald Trump Jr., former President Donald Trump's son, framed Thursday's announcement as Biden wanting to "disarm law-abiding American citizens with unconstitutional gun control measures," he wrote in a tweet.
Biden forcefully rejected the claims in his speech on Thursday.
"They're phony arguments, suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake," Biden said of his executive measures. "Everything that's being proposed today is totally consistent with the Second Amendment."
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri mocked Biden's comments, tweeting: "Joe Biden says the Second Amendment is a 'phony argument' - which about sums up his view of the Constitution in general."
-Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 8, 2021
However, at least one GOP lawmaker, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, welcomed Biden's efforts and expressed his support for passing gun safety legislation.
"If done in a manner that respects the rights of law-abiding citizens, I believe there is an opportunity to strengthen our background check system so that we are better able to keep guns away from those who have no legal right to them," Toomey tweeted.
Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly embraced Biden's executive actions on Thursday and said that the measures will "save lives." Gun safety reform has long been a major Democratic priority, and the Democratic-led House passed two bills last month that would expand background check requirements on gun sales and transfers, which have yet to be taken up the evenly-divided Senate. Nearly 40,000 people die annually from firearm injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.