What Exactly is in Biden’s New Gun-Control Executive Order

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posted on March 15, 2023
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Gage Skidmore courtesy Flickr

President Joe Biden (D) likes the power of the pen. Just a week after entering the White House, he issued nearly two dozen executive orders. Just over two months in, he had signed more than 50, and now, he’s back with a new one that explicitly goes after your Second Amendment rights.

This executive order, among other things, “expands” background checks and seeks to make it easier for firearms manufacturers to be held liable for the actions of violent criminals.

“Crimes are committed by criminals. Until President Biden and his allies decide to go after violent criminals, violence will continue to spiral out of control as it has. The focus of our laws and efforts should be on the criminal element and not on law-abiding Americans,” said the NRA in response to Biden’s executive order.

The executive order is written like an opinion article for The Washington Post. But, when it does get down to details, this seems to be the most-pertinent part:

(i) clarify the definition of who is engaged in the business of dealing in firearms, and thus required to become Federal firearms licensees (FFLs), in order to increase compliance with the Federal background check requirement for firearm sales, including by considering a rulemaking, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law;

(ii)   prevent former FFLs whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered from continuing to engage in the business of dealing in firearms;

(iii)  publicly release, to the fullest extent permissible by law, inspection reports of FFL dealers cited for violations of the law; and

(iv)   support efforts to modernize and make permanent the Undetectable Firearms Act (18 U.S.C. 922(p)).

It is hard to say what Biden is referring to when he says he wants to “prevent former FFLs” from “[engaging] in the business of dealing in firearms.” If he is talking about illegal gun dealers, then the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is already tasked with enforcing these relevant laws. If the ATF is not doing its job, then Attorney General Merrick Garland, who oversees the ATF, should call ATF Director Steven Dettelbach onto the figurative red carpet and find out why.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation quickly pointed out the hypocrisy of this executive order.

“The Biden administration should demand that soft-on-crime prosecutors and lawmakers use the laws already in existence to lock up criminals that misuse firearms to prey on innocent Americans,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Instead, this administration continues to scapegoat the firearm industry for its unwillingness to address crime. The failure of this administration to seriously address spiraling crime and instead focus its attacks on a Constitutionally-protected industry that works diligently to remain in compliance with laws and regulations and actively cooperates with law enforcement, especially ATF, exposes the lack of urgency Americans demand to curb rampant and out-of-control crime.”

As this was purely a political move from President Biden, he quickly gave a speech to tell us what more he would like to do to our freedom. He spoke about “universal” background checks, red-flag laws, of his desire to allow anyone to sue firearms manufacturers for the actions of violent criminals and, of course, his goal of banning commonly owned semi-automatic rifles.

“I continue to call on Congress to require background checks for all firearm sales,” said Biden. “In the meantime, my executive order directs my attorney general [Merrick Garland] to take every lawful action possible—possible to move us as close as we can to universal background checks without new legislation.

“The executive order also expands public awareness campaigns about the ‘red flag’ orders,” said Biden. “The second thing it does—the executive order ramps up our efforts to hold the gun industry accountable. It’s the only outfit you can’t sue these days.”

Biden has repeated some sort of claim about not being able to sue gun manufacturers virtually every time he has discussed firearms, and almost every organization—conservative, liberal and centrist alike—that runs any sort of a “fact-check” system has labeled Biden’s lawsuit claim (as well as others) as “false,” “wrong,” “exaggerated,”or some other description that shows the president is being dishonest. And based on the frequency of his claim, the dishonesty is likely quite intentional. This untrue statement is merely intended to deceive people into supporting Biden’s desire to allow the firearms industry to be buried with frivolous lawsuits that try to blame gun dealers and manufacturers for the actions of violent criminals.

Many politicians were quick to criticize Biden’s executive order.

“The President can’t rewrite laws. This has every marking of yet another executive order from the most anti-gun administration in history designed to circumvent the legislative process. If it does what media reports say, I will be filing a lawsuit to protect Americans’ rights,” tweeted Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R).

“Biden’s executive orders on gun control are based… on fiction!” tweeted Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).

Towards the end of his speech, Biden said, “There’s more in this executive order, but I’m not stopping there [stet].”

There is a lot more wrong with this latest executive order. We’ll dig into the specifics in follow-up articles in the coming days.

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