President Joe Biden issued an executive order Tuesday aimed at keeping firearms out of “dangerous hands” by expanding background checks on gun sales and increasing the use of so-called red flag laws.
Biden is set to announce steps to curb gun violence on Tuesday afternoon in Monterey Park, California, where he is expected to meet with the families impacted by the mass shooting that claimed 11 lives and injured nine others at a Lunar New Year celebration in January.
White House officials summarized the order saying the move would push the U.S. closer to universal background checks without additional legislation, hold the gun industry “accountable,” and drive law enforcement efforts to identify and apprehend shooters.
Earlier this month, Biden said he would ban so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines “come hell or high water,” Fox News reported.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that Biden “believes we need to do more” to crack down on gun violence.
“Too many lives have been taken by gun violence,” Jean-Pierre said. “You’ll hear him call on Congress to take action and not to stop … that we need to continue.”
The move comes after Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act last year, where he called on members of Congress to take additional steps to reduce gun violence. Lawmakers passed the legislation in an attempt to prevent mass shootings and incentivize states to pass more “red flag” laws and expand background checks for 18 to 21-year-olds looking to purchase a firearm.
“Again and again, he has called for Congress to act, including by banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring background checks for all gun sales, requiring safe storage of firearms, closing the dating violence restraining order loophole, and repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability,” the statement reads.
Biden also calls on the Federal Trade Commission to produce public reports analyzing how gunmakers sell firearms to minors.
The executive order also directs U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to develop and implement a plan to prevent former federal firearm dealers, whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered, from continuing to engage in dealing in firearms, the summary reads.
Biden authorized Garland to publicly release Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) records from the inspection of firearms dealers cited for violating federal firearm laws.
In consultation with the Justice Department, Biden also directed Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to work with carriers and shippers to reduce lost or stolen firearms during shipments.
According to ATF data, the number of firearms reported as lost or stolen during shipment between federally licensed firearms dealers, from roughly 1,700 in 2018 to more than 6,100 in 2022, increased by over 250%.
A senior administration official told The Washington Post that Biden wants the federal government to use its authority to reduce gun violence.
“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.”