President Biden on Tuesday announced an executive order that aims to increase the number of background checks conducted before gun sales, cracking down on firearms dealers who violate federal law.
The goal of the executive order, unveiled during a Biden visit to Monterey Park, Calif., is to move the U.S. as close to a system of universal background checks for all gun sales as possible without requiring legislation from Congress. Biden has called for Congress to pass universal background checks, but such legislation is a non-starter in the GOP-controlled House.
“I’m here with you today to act,” Biden said to the audience in Monterey Park after talking about each victim of the shooting in the town on Jan. 21.
The order will direct Attorney General Merrick Garland to ensure that gun 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,” according to a fact sheet released by the White House.
“It’s just common sense to check whether someone is a felon, domestic abuser before they buy a gun,” Biden said on Tuesday.
Last year’s bipartisan gun legislation, which Biden signed into law in June, updated the statutory definition of who is “engaged in the business” of dealing guns, and the attorney general will be directed to clarify that definition for dealers.