(GoRealNewsNow.com) – President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to expand the number of background checks performed prior to firearm sales in the United States.
The order seeks to bring the country “as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation.”
While visiting Monterey Park, California, where a shooting claimed 11 lives in January, the Democratic president signed the measure on Tuesday.
Progress on gun control appears doubtful in a polarized Washington.
Last year, Mr. Biden signed a bipartisan gun violence reduction bill into law, and he has consistently urged Congress to take further action against what he terms an “epidemic.”
However, his proposals for an assault weapons ban, universal background checks for gun sales, and the removal of gun manufacturers’ immunity from prosecution are unlikely to advance as long as Republicans control the House of Representatives.
Mr. Biden’s executive order, which does not need Congressional approval, acknowledges this political landscape and outlines a series of actions within his power, beginning with the expansion of background checks.
“It’s just common sense,” the president stated. “Check if someone is a violent felon, a domestic abuser, before they buy a gun.”
Universal background checks, which involve running a gun purchaser’s information through an FBI database before completing a sale, are viewed as essential for closing legal loopholes that enable prohibited transactions. Most of the American public supports these checks, but legislation mandating criminal background checks for all gun sales has stalled in the Senate, with some Democrats opposing it.
The executive order aims to crack down on gun sellers who violate the law.
Mr. Biden will instruct the US attorney general to clarify the legal definition of who is “engaged in the business” of selling firearms, develop a strategy to prevent firearms dealers with revoked licenses from continuing sales, and identify and expose lawbreaking firearms dealers.
Kris Brown, president of the gun control non-profit Brady, tweeted: “While we still need urgent legislative action from Congress, [the president’s] announcement today gets us closer to universal background checks than any other President that has come before.”
The executive order also requests a proposal for how the federal government can address the immediate and long-term needs of communities affected by mass shootings, similar to responses to natural disasters.
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden met with family members of the Monterey Park mass shooting victims and commemorated each victim during his speech.
“We remember and mourn today, but I’m here with you today to act,” he said.
The order directs the Federal Trade Commission to produce a report on how gun manufacturers target civilians, particularly minors.
Additionally, the order aims to reduce the theft or loss of firearms during shipment between dealers, require improved reporting of ballistics data to help law enforcement connect shell casings to the guns that fired them, raise public awareness about safe firearm storage, and promote “red flag” laws or extreme risk protection orders. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted these laws, which permit individuals to petition a court to temporarily seize guns from those exhibiting potentially violent or harmful behavior.
The Justice Department distributed over $200 million last month to assist states in implementing their red flag laws.
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