Biden to Reinforce Background Checks for Gun Buyers

President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order on firearm background checks. It aims to move the U.S. “as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation”.

Biden will order the attorney general, Merrick Garland, to crack down on gun sellers who break the law. 

The White House is promoting it as the most comprehensive policy the president can enact without Congress.

The order will also strengthen federal support for red flag laws intended to stop gun sales to people deemed dangerous that have been passed by 19 states and the District of Columbia. 

It follows previous executive actions the Biden administration has taken with the intent to reduce gun violence.

Opinion polls show that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans support universal background checks that would reveal whether a person is a convicted criminal or domestic abuser before allowing them to buy a gun. 

But with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, there is little hope of Congress heeding Biden’s pleas to pass legislation.

Last year’s bipartisan gun safety legislation marked the most sweeping of its kind in three decades. 

The White House said it created an opening for Biden to direct the attorney general to move the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation.

Universal background checks – or the requirement to run a gun buyer’s information through an FBI database before a sale is made – are seen as key to closing legal loopholes that allow prohibited purchases.

Tuesday’s order also calls for a proposal on how the federal government can meet the short and long-term needs of a community impacted by mass shootings, similar to how authorities respond to natural disasters.

A poll last year found 84 percent of respondents supported background checks for all firearms sales and 70 percent backed red flag laws. 

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