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Biden announces executive order to increase background checks

By Urja SinhaCaitlyn Shelton,

2023-03-14

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( NewsNation ) — President Joe Biden announced an executive order Tuesday in Monterey Park, California, that aims to increase the number of background checks before gun purchases.

Biden said the executive order directs the attorney general to push the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation, saying at the press conference, “It’s just common sense to check whether someone is a felon, a domestic abuser, before they buy a gun.”

The executive order also moves to improve public awareness and encourage the effective use of “red flag” laws.

“So more parents, teachers, police officers, health providers, and counselors know how to flag for the court that someone is exhibiting violent tendencies, threatening classmates are experiencing suicidal thoughts that make them a danger to themselves and others,” Biden said. “And temporarily remove that person’s access to firearms.”

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According to the Biden administration, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted “red flag” laws that allow trusted community members to petition a court to determine whether someone is dangerous and then remove their access to firearms for a certain amount of time.

Biden also highlighted how he plans to hold the gun industry responsible with this executive order during the Tuesday press conference.

“It does that by calling out for an independent government study that analyzes and exposes how gun manufacturers aggressively market firearms to civilians, especially minors, including by using military imagery,” Biden said. “That way, policymakers can strengthen laws to crack down on those illegal gun dealers in the public and avoid purchasing from them.”

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Biden announced the move in Monterey Park, where he traveled to grieve with families and community members impacted by a January shooting that left 11 dead and nine injured.

The order will also direct cabinet members to work with Congress to develop a plan for how the federal government can support communities after shootings and identify which resources, such as those for mental health care, financial assistance or food, can be made available to them.

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The president is also requesting a report from each agency responsible for implementing his Bipartisan Safer Communities Act . The report, which he wants to show agency progression toward implementing the measures in the act, is due within 60 days.

As he calls on Congress to tighten gun laws, Biden claims he has taken more executive action on firearms than any other president at this point in their term. At the press conference, he touted his success banning assault weapons in 1994, saying gun violence went down in the ten years that law was in place.

Pointing the surge in shootings since the law expired, Biden said, “Let’s finish the job. Ban assault weapons, ban them again. do it now. Enough. Do something. Do something big.”

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