Biden Exec Order: Increase Background Checks, More Red Tape
The White House has announced President Joe Biden’s latest executive order on guns, with a focus on background checks, “red flag” laws and firearms dealers, and once again, it leaves out a key element: Locking up criminals.
Axios is reporting that Biden’s newest foray into gun control is actually “another action he can sell to voters as a way he’s tried to deliver when Congress couldn’t pass federal legislation to require universal background checks” as he gears up for the 2024 re-election campaign.
But Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, was quick to react, and he did not spare words.
“Joe Biden is trying to sell this new gun control scheme the way he’s always done, by promising less violent crime and safer neighborhoods,” Gottleib said in a prepared statement, “but this plan isn’t going to accomplish either goal, and he knows it. This sleight-of-hand maneuver simply makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms, while creating the impression gun dealers are crooks and the industry is unregulated.
“This is just another chapter in Joe Biden’s war on gun rights,” he continued. “It is a diversion to the Democrat failure to keep Americans safe from violent criminals who are released without bail and are free to prey on us all.”
A White House release detailing the Biden order may be read here. Among the highlights:
- Increase the number of background checks by ensuring that all background checks required by law are conducted before firearm purchases, moving the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation.
- Improve public awareness and increase appropriate use of extreme risk protection (“red flag”) orders and safe storage of firearms.
- Address the loss or theft of firearms during shipping.
- Provide the public and policymakers with more information regarding federally licensed firearms dealers who are violating the law.
- Use the Department of Defense’s acquisition of firearms to further firearm and public safety practices.
The Associated Press is portraying the move as another effort for “gun safety.” Indeed, both news agencies quote John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, calling this move “a home run for public 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.” – @JohnFeinblatt https://t.co/IBcWhwA84V
— Everytown (@Everytown) March 14, 2023
The AP also says the new Biden mandate “will call on Attorney General Merrick Garland to shore up the rules for federally licensed gun dealers so they know they are required to do background checks as part of the license.” It is already clear to federally licensed firearms retailers that gun sales must include a background check.
And Biden will perpetuate another popular meme within the gun prohibition movement by asking the Federal Trade Commission “to issue a public report analyzing how gun manufacturers market to minors and use military images to market to the general public.”
Nowhere in any of the news coverage is there a mention of cracking down on criminals who misuse guns. There is no mention of it, either, in the White House fact sheet.
Instead, the White House highlights these points:
- Help catch shooters by accelerating federal law enforcement’s reporting of ballistics data.
- Accelerate and intensify the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA).
- Improve federal support for gun violence survivors, victims and survivors’ families, first responders to gun violence, and communities affected by gun violence.
- Advance congressional efforts to prevent the proliferation of firearms undetectable by metal detectors.
Nearly 30 years ago, gun owners in Washington State spearheaded a movement that gathered momentum across the country: Hard Time for Armed Crime. The strategy focused on criminals instead of law-abiding citizens who legally purchase firearms. It was popular with most people, except anti-gunners.
Biden’s proposal, as detailed by Forbes, doesn’t go in that direction. About the closest it comes is the tenet regarding the reporting of ballistic data.
It should be noted that under the section about addressing loss or theft of guns during shipping, the White House says, “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) data indicates an over 250% increase in the number of firearms reported as lost or stolen during shipment between federally licensed firearms dealers, from roughly 1,700 in 2018 to more than 6,100 in 2022. President Biden is directing the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Department of Justice, to work to reduce the loss or theft of firearms during shipment and to improve reporting of such losses or thefts, including by engaging with carriers and shippers.”
Stolen or “lost” firearms that end up in criminal hands get there without background checks, waiting periods or any of the other impairments the Biden plan pushes onto law-abiding citizens. It’s something of a disconnect that gun control proponents never seem to understand. Criminals do not obey gun control laws.
There is something else at work, as revealed by the AP story.
“Biden’s rhetoric,” the report notes, “has only grown stronger around guns — he routinely calls for banning so-called assault weapons in his speeches — and Democrats didn’t push such a vocal anti-gun platform even during the Obama administration, when Biden was vice president. But Biden has been emboldened by the midterms after his regular talk of gun control didn’t result in massive losses, and he’s expected to continue to push for strong changes as he inches toward a 2024 run, his aides say.”
But Gottlieb had a reaction to this as well.
“Biden has always had an anti-gun agenda,” he said, “and on this important constitutional issue, he has never let the courts, public opinion or the Bill of Rights get in his way.”
“This is textbook Joe Biden,” he explained. “Talk tough, make it appear he’s doing something about crime when he really isn’t, and ultimately just continue penalizing law-abiding gun owners for crimes they didn’t commit. The only people who will be any safer are the criminals who ignore gun control laws already.”
Biden has been a perennial anti-gunner since arriving in Washington, D.C. 50 years ago. This new initiative is just one more example of his fervor against firearms.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.