In a move that is sure to ruffle feathers among Second Amendment supporters, President Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday that will expand background checks on firearm sales.
The order expands the statutory definition of a firearms dealer, which will bring the U.S. “as close to universal background checks as possible” without additional legislation.
The president signed the order during a trip to Monterey Park, California, where he met with families and community members impacted by the mass shooting that killed 11 and injured nine others in January.
The executive order will not only expand background checks, but also direct Attorney General Merrick Garland to prevent former federally licensed firearms dealers from continuing to engage in the business of dealing firearms.
Under the order, the public will have access to more information about 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 is also directing his cabinet to encourage the “effective use” of extreme protection, such as “red flag” laws and safe storage of firearms, by partnering with law enforcement, health care providers, educators and other community leaders.
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 carriers and shippers.
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.
Biden’s order would help “catch shooters by accelerating federal law enforcement’s reporting of ballistics data.” The executive order will direct all federal law enforcement agencies to issue “rigorous requirements regarding NIBIN data submission and use of this tool.”
Despite the executive order, Biden has continued to call on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. In addition, the president will encourage the Federal Trade Commission to issue a public report analyzing how gun manufacturers market firearms to minors.
This executive order is one of many actions Biden has taken to reduce gun violence. He signed into law the most significant gun control bill in nearly 30 years last June, providing funding for states to create programs that could keep weapons away from people who are a danger to themselves or others, enhancing background checks for gun buyers under 21, adding penalties for some gun criminals, and addressing closing the “boyfriend loophole.”