President Biden is expected to announce an executive order on Tuesday that would expand background checks to more firearm sales by expanding the statutory definition of a firearms dealer, the White House said.
Biden is set to sign the order during a trip to Monterey Park, California, where he will meet with families and the community impacted by the mass shooting that killed 11 and injured nine others in January. The White House said the executive order will bring the U.S. “as close to universal background checks as possible” without additional legislation.
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Under the executive order, Biden is also directing Attorney General Merrick Garland to develop and implement a plan to prevent former federally licensed firearms dealers, whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered, from continuing to engage in the business of dealing in firearms.
The order will also improve public awareness and increase the use of extreme protection, like “red flag” laws and safe storage of firearms.
Biden is directing his cabinet to encourage the “effective use” of those orders, by partnering with law enforcement, health care providers, educators and other community leaders. Biden is also directing members of his cabinet to expand existing federal campaigns and efforts to promote safe storage of firearms.
The order will also direct the secretary of transportation, in consultation with the Department of Justice, to work to “reduce the loss or theft of firearms during shipment,” and to improve the reporting of such losses or thefts by engaging with carrels and shippers.
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The White House said the order will also hold the gun industry “accountable,” by providing the public and policymakers with “more information regarding federally licensed firearms dealers who are violating the law.”
The order directs the attorney general to publicly release ATF records from the inspection of firearms dealers cited for violation of federal firearm laws.
The order also requires the Department of Defense to develop and implement principles to further firearm and public safety practices through DOD acquisition of firearms.
Biden’s order would also help “catch shooters by accelerating federal law enforcement’s reporting of ballistics data.”
The National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) currently allows federal, state and local law enforcement to match fired cartridge casings to the guns from which they were fired, making it easier for law enforcement to connect multiple crime scenes and catch shooters.
The executive order will direct all federal law enforcement agencies to issue “rigorous requirements regarding NIBIN data submission and use of this tool.”
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President Biden, under the order, will also accelerate and intensify implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act; improve federal support for gun violence survivors, victims and survivors’ families, first responders to gun violence, and communities affected by gun violence; and advance congressional efforts to prevent the proliferation of firearms undetectable by metal detectors.
The White House said the president will also encourage the Federal Trade Commission to issue a public report analyzing how gun manufacturers market firearms to minors.
A senior administration official touted Biden’s executive actions throughout his presidency related to reducing gun violence. That official said Biden will also continue to call on Congress to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
Biden, earlier this month, said he is going to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines “come hell or high water.”
Last June, after it was passed by both the Democrat-controlled House and Senate, Biden signed into law the most significant gun control bill in nearly 30 years.
Spearheaded by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, the measure came in the wake of recent mass shootings at the time and provides funding for states to create programs, often called red flag laws, that could keep weapons away from people who are a danger to themselves or others.
In addition, the measure enhances background checks for gun buyers under 21, adds penalties for some gun criminals and provides funding for a variety of health and mental health-related programs. It also addresses closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” which is a gap in federal law that means spousal domestic abusers can have gun rights taken away but not unmarried ones.
With regard to working with Congress on gun control legislation, a senior administration official said, “I think when you do gun violence policy, you always have to have hope. And I think there always is hope.”
“The president is going to continue to fight for common sense gun safety legislation, and there are all sorts of pieces of legislation we need,” the official said. “But in the meantime, [the president] wants the federal government to be doing all we can with existing authority to reduce gun violence. And that is what this executive order does.”
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