Biden Issues Executive Order Increasing Background Checks On Firearms

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Joe Biden announced an executive order on Tuesday aiming to increase the number of background checks needed before making a firearm purchase.

The executive order also has a measure to increase the knowledge around “red flag” laws, the White House said in a statement.

The president made the announcement in Monterey Park, California, where a shooter claimed the lives of 11 people and injured nine in January on Lunar New Year.

“One of the worst mass shootings in California history. A tragedy that has pierced the soul of the entire nation,” Biden said in his speech. “I’m here on behalf of the American people. To mourn with, to pray with you, and let you know that you’re not alone.”

MONTEREY PARK, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 24: People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a deadly mass shooting at a ballroom dance studio, as a person holds a sign reading “The Problem Is Guns!”, on January 24, 2023 in Monterey Park, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Biden will continue to urge Congress to pass a universal background check law, but for now, his executive order asks Attorney General Merrick Garland to “move the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation.”

Garland will do so by “clarifying” the “statutory definition of who is ‘engaged in the business’ of dealing in firearms” in order to “ensure that firearms sellers” know they are required to run background checks, the statement read.

For the “red flag” laws, Biden is directing members of his Cabinet to educate the public about the proper use of the law “by partnering with law enforcement, health care providers, educators, and other community leaders” and encouraging the promotion of “safe storage of firearms.”

He is also calling for members of his Cabinet to make a proposal on how the federal government can better assist families victim to gun violence and initiating a requirement for federal law enforcement agencies to accelerate their reporting on ballistics data.

Biden has repeatedly said he aims to ban “assault weapons” during his administration, and did so again in his speech. (RELATED: Biden Lays Out Slew Of Gun Control Demands, Urges Congress To Act)

“None of this absolves Congress from the responsibility of acting: to pass universal background checks, [and] eliminate gun manufacturing immunity from liability. And I’m determined, once again, to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines,” Biden said.

He laid out his proposals concerning firearms in June 2022 after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, saying “assault weapons” should be limited to those above 21 if they are not banned.