Biden Calls for Enforcement of Existing Gun Laws


President Joe Biden said Tuesday he will sign an Executive Order on Tuesday that mostly calls on government officials to enforce existing gun laws.

The first item in the E.O. is a directive to the Attorney General to enforce existing background check rules for businesses that sell firearms.

The order tells the Attorney General to “do everything he can” to ensure that firearms sellers who may not be informed on background check rules comply with the law.

“Specifically, the President is directing the Attorney General to move the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation by clarifying, as appropriate, the statutory definition of who is “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms, as updated by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” the White House said in a statement.

Most of the other provisions in the order are similar calls to enforce existing laws more comprehensively.

The E.O. directs cabinet level agencies to raise awareness around the so-called “red flag” laws on the books in 19 states and the District of Columbia, for example.

Red Flag laws allow members of the public to warn law enforcement when an individual may be dangerous. Those individuals can be temporarily prohibited from purchasing firearms. According to the White House, some people might not know how to use Red Flag laws, so a public awareness campaign is needed.

Biden is also calling on Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to investigate the apparently large number of firearms that go missing during the shipping process.

Other parts of the E.O. target gun dealers. For example, Biden’s order will require the AG to publish a list of gun dealers who are found to have violated federal gun laws. And the Department of Defense will now use its large weapons purchases to further firearm safety, though the method for accomplishing this isn’t quite clear.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will also investigate the marketing of firearms, “including through the use of military imagery.”

The remaining provisions will enhance law enforcement’s ability to investigate shooting incidents and help victims of gun violence.

You can read the White House’s “fact sheet” on the order here.


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