President Joe Biden has announced new measures that would strengthen background checks on gun purchases in the country following a recent series of mass shootings.
Speaking at The Boys and Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley in Monterey Park, California, on Tuesday afternoon, Biden announced his new executive order that would direct his Cabinet members to strengthen gun background checks to “save more lives more quickly.”
According to the fact sheet released by the White House after the speech, Biden ordered his Cabinet members to increase the number of background checks conducted before any firearm purchases occur.
“In the meantime, my executive order directs my Attorney General to take every lawful action possible to move us as close as we can to universal background checks without new legislation,” Biden said.
“It’s just common sense to check whether someone is a felon, a domestic abuser, before they buy a gun.”
The executive order would also expand public awareness campaigns about the Extreme Risk Protection Order law, also known as the red flag law, in partnership with law enforcement, healthcare providers, educators and other community leaders.
The red flag law, which has already been enacted in 19 states and the District of Columbia, allows authorities or community members to petition a court to temporarily remove an individual’s access to firearms if they are deemed dangerous, such as by exhibiting violent tendencies, threatening classmates or experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Besides expanding existing efforts to promote safe firearm storage, the new executive order would also address the loss and theft of firearms during shipping as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently saw a 250% increase in incidents from roughly 1,700 in 2018 to over 6,100 in 2022.
Biden’s next executive order would also aim to hold the gun industry accountable, noting that it is the “only outfit you can’t sue these days,” and have the ATF release reports citing firearms dealers who violated the law.
“That way, policymakers can strengthen laws to crack down on these illegal gun dealers and the public can avoid purchasing from them,” Biden said.
Additionally, the executive order would help improve federal coordination to support victims of mass shootings or their families and communities “the same way FEMA responds to your natural disasters in California and all around the nation,” Biden said.
Other key notes from the executive order announced in the fact sheet include: “Help catch shooters by accelerating federal law enforcement’s reporting of ballistics data,” “Accelerate and intensify implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA)” and “Advance congressional efforts to prevent the proliferation of firearms undetectable by metal detectors.”
Besides announcing the new gun control safety measures, Biden also met with family members of the Monterey Park victims and first responders privately after his speech.
“Twenty minutes after the rampage at Star Ballroom, Brandon saw the same shooter walk into his family’s own dance studio just two miles away, pointing a gun at him,” Biden said of Tsay, who was awarded a Medal of Courage and received an invite to attend the president’s State of the Union address as a guest. “In an instant, he found the courage to act and wrestled the semi-automatic firearm away.”
Some control advocates praised Biden for his latest executive order on gun safety, with one non-government organization leader agreeing that the notes the president released would help save lives.
President of Everytown for Gun Safety John Feinblatt told The New York Times that the executive order’s effort to crack down on gun dealers “will significantly expand background checks on gun sales, keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people and save lives.”
While Monterey Park Mayor Jose Sanchez praised the president for the latest development, he said it was still insufficient.
I think he’s heading in the right direction. But if I were to advise him, and if I were to be able to sit down with him, I would tell him that after he gets himself re-elected, that he needs to focus his next four years on making some serious changes.