President Biden will issue an executive order Tuesday to increase the number of background checks before gun purchases and to strengthen the use of “red flag” laws — in what the White House has touted as the most comprehensive policy the president can enact without Congress.
The president will unveil the beefed-up policy in a speech from Monterey, Calif., where a man armed with an assault-style rifle opened fire during a Lunar New Year celebration in January, killing 11 people.
Despite the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act last June, the White House said the administration has been stymied by Congress in its calls for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring universal background checks and repealing gun makers’ immunity from liability.
Biden’s executive order, marshaling a Cabinet-level response, will move the US as close to universal background checks as possible under the existing laws without requiring Congress to pass additional legislation.
It will direct Attorney General Merrick Garland “to do everything he can to ensure that firearms sellers who do not realize they are required to run background checks under existing law, or who are willfully violating existing law, become compliant with background check requirements,” the White House said in a fact-sheet released Tuesday.
Biden will also ask Garland to carry out a plan to stop former federally licensed firearms dealers, whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered, from selling guns.
The order will also raise public awareness of “red flag” orders, which allow a judge to remove a firearm from someone deemed likely to hurt themselves or others, calling on members of the Cabinet, law enforcement agencies, educators, health-care providers and community leaders to encourage their use.
Biden will ask the Federal Trade Commission to issue a public report on how gun makers market firearms to minors and how the manufacturers use military imagery to advertise weapons to the general public.
Federal law enforcement agencies will be directed to develop regulations mandating that state and local authorities better report ballistics data to the federal clearinghouse.
The National Integrated Ballistics Information Network allows federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to match shells casing to guns.
As part of the executive order, Biden is calling on every federal agency involved in implementing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to “maximize the benefits of the law” and increase public awareness of the resources it makes available.