Gun Control: Biden Signs Executive Order Regulating Firearms

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

An executive order signed by President Joe Biden aims to curb gun violence by improving access to secure storage options. The action mandates that the Justice Department guide gun storage best practices within 60 days.

It also directs federal agencies to make available funding for community violence intervention programs. With roughly 45,000 Americans dying each year from gun-related injuries, reducing access to improperly stored firearms may help prevent accidental shootings and youth suicides. This order is one part of the Administration’s strategy to address the public health crisis of gun violence through a comprehensive approach.

Overview of Biden’s Executive Order on Gun Violence

President Biden’s Executive Order introduces measures to promote secure firearm storage, recognizing its role in preventing unauthorized access to guns. According to statistics, nearly 80 percent of school shootings and youth suicides involve firearms from the home, emphasizing the need for improved storage practices.

Source: Reuters

The Executive Order aims to accelerate the use of ballistics data through the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) to support law enforcement in identifying shooters. It also emphasizes implementing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to maximize the benefits of recent gun safety legislation.

Providing Support for Impacted Communities

The Biden Administration’s Executive Order acknowledges the lack of coordinated federal assistance for communities affected by mass shootings. It directs Cabinet members to propose mechanisms to address both the immediate and long-term needs of survivors, victims’ families, first responders, and communities.

Source: Rose Caporaletti

The measures focus on navigating trauma and accessing mental healthcare and other critical resources in the aftermath of such tragic events. The Executive Order signifies the Biden Administration’s commitment to tackling the public health crisis of gun violence through a comprehensive approach focused on safe storage, background checks, industry accountability, and supporting those impacted by violence.

Key Provisions Aimed at Securing Firearms Storage

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will release a comprehensive guide on safe firearm storage, offering recommendations on storage devices and procedures. This resource represents the most extensive guidance on secure storage provided by the federal government to date.

Source: Wyze

The executive actions announced by the Biden-Harris administration aim to tackle the issue of gun violence through a multi-pronged approach centered on secure firearm storage. Protecting children, curbing unintentional shootings and suicides, preventing firearm thefts, and limiting school shootings are identified as key motivations behind the provisions on safe storage and education.

Potential Impact on Gun Violence Rates

The Executive Order’s emphasis on secure firearm storage aims to limit access to unsecured guns, which studies show are frequently involved in violence. Requiring gun owners to safely store firearms when not in use can help prevent unauthorized access, reducing the risk of school shootings, youth suicides, and accidental injuries.

Source: Rawpixel

President Biden’s Executive Order also focuses on improving background checks for firearm sales and better utilization of red flag laws. Comprehensive background checks have been shown to reduce gun violence by blocking prohibited individuals from purchasing firearms.

Accountability for Gun Manufacturers and Sellers

The Executive Order directs the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how gun manufacturers and sellers market firearms to assess whether certain practices are unfair or deceptive. Holding the gun industry accountable for irresponsible marketing and sales practices may discourage actions that increase the risk of violence.

Source: Flickr/Brookings Institution

The multi-pronged strategy outlined in President Biden’s Executive Order aims to tackle gun violence through various avenues. Safe storage, background checks, red flag laws, industry accountability, and community support each represent measures with the potential to save lives by preventing violence or mitigating its devastating impacts.

Responses From Gun Control Advocates

Gun control advocacy groups have expressed support for President Biden’s executive actions to curb gun violence through secure firearm storage. The wide-ranging initiatives aim to reduce unintentional shootings, especially those involving children, by promoting responsible practices for securing firearms in homes.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Advocates emphasize the role of education and public awareness in encouraging gun owners to adopt safe storage measures. Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, stated, “We know that secure firearm storage is one of the most effective ways to prevent tragic unintentional shootings, especially those involving children, and we applaud the Biden administration for promoting this life-saving practice.”

Reactions From Gun Rights Groups

Pro-gun advocacy groups have voiced strong opposition to President Biden’s executive order on gun control. The executive director of Gun Owners of America stated that the president’s actions “trample on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens” and that safe storage requirements would render firearms useless for self-defense in emergencies.

Source Fkickr/Trump White House Archived

The group argued that secure storage mandates have been repeatedly rejected by federal courts and state legislatures across the U.S. Similarly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) condemned the executive order, calling the proposals “an attack on the freedoms of law-abiding Americans.”

Critics Argue Executive Order Exceeds Authority

Some pro-gun groups and Republican lawmakers argue that the president has overstepped his authority. They contend that significant policy changes, such as universal background checks and assault weapons bans, require legislation to be passed by Congress rather than executive actions.

Source: SGN Staff

However, the Biden administration maintains that the executive actions are lawful and necessary to address the public health crisis of gun violence. Supporters argue that secure storage requirements are a reasonable measure that does not violate the Second Amendment rights of lawful gun owners.

Legal Challenges Expected

According to the Administration, the executive order directing federal agencies to promote safe firearm storage practices falls within the government’s authority to regulate commerce and promote public health. Safe storage measures are positioned as a means to reduce unintentional shootings, youth suicide, and school shootings by limiting access to unsecured firearms.

Source: Flickr/Michael Saechang

The Administration also emphasizes that the executive order does not ban assault weapons or high-capacity magazines outright but instead focuses on closing loopholes in the background check system. While pro-gun groups argue that background checks violate the Second Amendment, the Administration contends that “reasonable restrictions” on firearm sales are constitutional and help prevent guns from falling into dangerous hands.

State Laws on Secure Gun Storage

In response to President Biden’s Executive Order on gun violence prevention, many states have enacted laws aimed at promoting the secure storage of firearms. These laws generally fall into two categories: child access prevention laws and requirements for gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms.

Source: Etsy

Child access prevention (CAP) laws impose criminal liability on adults who fail to securely store firearms, enabling children to gain access to the weapons. According to the Giffords Law Center, 23 states and the District of Columbia have passed some form of CAP law. The specifics of these laws vary but typically hold gun owners criminally liable if a minor accesses an unsecured firearm.

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Sally Reed

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