Executive Action Directs Attorney General to Move As Close to Universal Background Checks As Possible Through Closing Gun Seller Loophole
WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements as President Biden today announces new, lifesaving executive actions ahead of a visit to Monterey Park, California to honor the lives of the 11 people killed and nine injured in the January mass shooting during a Lunar New Year celebration.
“President Biden’s executive order today is a home run for public safety,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This is the latest example of President Biden’s leadership on gun safety and we’re proud to stand with him as he takes robust action to help close the gun seller loophole — which will significantly expand background checks on gun sales, keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, and save lives.”
“President Biden continues to deliver meaningful action to save lives from gun violence,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Our grassroots army helped pass the first federal gun safety law in a generation and we’re now proud to support this Administration fully implementing the law and using every tool in their disposal to keep our families and communities safe.”
The President is issuing an executive order today, directing the Attorney General to maximize the number of background checks on gun sales by clarifying the definition of what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms. Closing this gun seller loophole has been a key Everytown priority for implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA).
The next step is for the Attorney General and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to quickly take the President’s clear, strong directive and turn it into action. Enforcement guidance and substantive rulemaking should make clear that anyone who offers a gun for sale at a gun show or pursuant to an advertisement — including online ads — is presumptively engaged in the business of selling guns and needs to run background checks. This clarification would accomplish the President’s goal, be legally permissible, and tackle the commercial marketplaces that are the source of firearms for felons, domestic abusers and gun traffickers that are seeking to avoid background checks. The proposed regulation would go through the notice and comment rulemaking process in order to carry the full effect of law.
Notably, the Executive Order also directs the Executive Branch to effectively use Extreme Risk (or “Red Flag”) laws and expand existing federal efforts to promote secure storage of firearms. It helps hold the gun industry accountable by directing the release of hard-to-access information about rogue gun dealers that have violated the law and encouraging the independent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue a public report analyzing how gun manufacturers market firearms to minors and exploit military imagery to market their products, echoing petitions currently before the FTC filed by Everytown. And it directs federal agencies to determine how to better support the survivors of gun violence following a mass shooting.