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Joe Biden to sign executive order to increase background checks

The order aims to move the US closer to universal background checks

US President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order that aims to increase the number of background checks conducted before firearm sales. The order aims to move the US “as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation”. The Democratic president will sign the measure during a visit Tuesday to Monterey Park, California, where a gunman killed 11 people in January.

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Gun control measures are unlikely to pass in a divided Congress

Action on gun control appears unlikely in a divided Washington. Last year, Mr Biden signed a cross-party gun violence reduction measure into law and he has repeatedly asked Congress to do more about what he calls an “epidemic”. But his call for an assault weapons ban, universal background checks on gun sales and repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from prosecution are unlikely to make headway while Republicans control the US House of Representatives.


The executive order doesn’t require the approval of Congress

Mr Biden’s executive order – which does not require the approval of Congress – acknowledges this political reality and lays out a series of actions within his authority, beginning with the expansion of background checks. 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 and are supported by a broad majority of the American public. But legislation that requires criminal background checks for all guns sales has languished in the Senate with even some Democrats opposing it.


Action against gun sellers who break the law

Tuesday’s order aims to crack down on gun sellers who break the law. Mr Biden will direct the US attorney general to clarify the statutory definition of who is “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms, to devise a plan that prevents firearms dealers whose licenses were revoked from continuing to sell, and to name and shame firearms dealers who are breaking the law.

Reaction to the executive order

Kris Brown, president of the gun control non-profit Brady, wrote on Twitter: “While we still need urgent legislative action from Congress, [the president’s] announcement today gets us closer to universal background checks than any other President that has come before.” Reaction to the executive order was largely positive on Tuesday. The Everytown gun control coalition wrote it “would improve community safety, hold the gun industry and rogue gun dealers in our communities accountable, and save lives”, while the Moms Demand Action grassroots group added that it will “double down on the progress made” in last year’s bill.

Credit: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-64939930


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