On April 8th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States. This order includes several measures, one of which is directing the Attorney General to ensure gun dealers are complying with existing background check laws.
The issue of gun violence has long been a contentious topic in American politics, with many people on both sides of the argument. Those in favor of gun rights argue that the Second Amendment protects their right to bear arms, while those who support tighter gun control laws argue that the high number of gun-related deaths in the U.S. calls for stricter regulation.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue, one thing is clear: gun violence is a significant problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 39,707 deaths from firearms in 2019, making it the country’s second-leading cause of death for those under the age of 45. The Biden administration hopes to address this issue by taking a multi-pronged approach that includes new laws, executive actions, and increased funding for gun violence research.
One of the measures put forth in President Biden’s executive order is aimed at ensuring that gun dealers are following existing background check laws. Under current law, anyone who wants to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer must undergo a criminal background check. This process is designed to prevent individuals who are prohibited from owning guns, such as felons or those with a history of mental illness, from acquiring them.
Despite these laws, there have been numerous instances of gun dealers ignoring or circumventing background checks. The most high-profile example of this occurred in 2018 when a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooter had a long history of mental health issues and had been expelled from school, but he was still able to purchase a firearm because the gun dealer did not perform a background check.
President Biden’s executive order directs the Attorney General to take several steps to ensure that gun dealers are complying with background check laws. First, the order instructs the Attorney General to issue a new report on firearms trafficking. This report will include data on the sources of firearms used in crimes, as well as information on how guns are trafficked across state lines.
Second, the order directs the Attorney General to review and modernize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) form that must be completed by gun dealers when they sell a firearm. The current form, known as Form 4473, is designed to collect information on the purchaser’s background, including their criminal history and any history of mental illness. However, the form has not been updated since 2016, and some have argued that it is too easy to falsify or circumvent.
Finally, the executive order directs the Attorney General to launch a major crackdown on gun dealers who violate background check laws. This includes more frequent inspections of gun dealers, as well as stiffer penalties for those who are found to be in violation of the law. The order also instructs the Attorney General to work with states to improve their reporting of criminal history data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is used to perform background checks on gun purchasers.
Critics of President Biden’s order argue that it unfairly targets law-abiding gun dealers and infringes on their Second Amendment rights. They also argue that existing gun control laws are not effective and that more emphasis should be placed on mental health support and crime prevention.
Supporters of the order, on the other hand, argue that it is a common-sense measure designed to promote public safety and prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. They note that the overwhelming majority of Americans support background checks, and that stricter enforcement of existing laws is a necessary step towards reducing gun violence in the country.
In conclusion, President Biden’s executive order on gun violence includes several measures aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by firearms in the United States. One of these measures is aimed at ensuring that gun dealers are complying with existing background check laws. While the order has been met with both support and criticism, it is clear that reducing gun violence is an issue that needs to be addressed in a meaningful way, and President Biden’s order is a step in that direction.