Biden to issue executive order enforcing gun background checks
President Joe Biden will announce a new executive order intended to reduce gun violence on Tuesday during a visit to the location of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, in January, according to a senior administration official.
The president is evoking the limited authority of the executive branch to edge the country closer to universal firearms background checks, something that he has been unable to get through Congress although it remains popular in voter surveys.
His order directs Attorney General Merrick Garland to pinpoint gun sellers who are not employing background checks now on the books, or may be evading them intentionally.
Gun control advocates have long raised concerns about a lack of safeguards involving firearms sold at gun shows or by online retailers. The order also charges the Federal Trade Commission with compiling a report that examines firearm manufacturers’ marketing campaigns directed at minors.
Additionally, the order asks cabinet members to devise an organized federal response that can be deployed in communities affected by a mass shooting. That response would include mental health care and financial assistance if, say, small businesses are forced to shut down or if families lose people who provide their income, according to a White House fact sheet.
The senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity before the order was made public on Tuesday, said the federal government could do more to support families and first responders in the aftermath of these tragedies.
As of 13 March, there have been 109 mass shootings in the US this year alone, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive. That’s compared to 85 mass shootings by the same date last year, the archive found.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Monterey Park after 11 people were killed by a gunman during a Lunar New Year celebration in the majority Asian-American community. Nine other people were wounded. Harris called on Congress to enact “reasonable gun safety laws.”
Last year, Congress passed the first nationwide gun-control legislation in 30 years, implementing measures to improve the national background-check system for gun purchasers under 21, and to close the so-called boyfriend loophole that allowed dating partners convicted of domestic abuse to buy guns.
Biden maintains that Congress should move to ban all sales of assault weapons in the country and pass universal background checks, moves many Republican lawmakers have resisted.
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