Can Biden's executive action on background checks curb gun violence?

Is the president's push actually going to help or is it an "unconstitutional escapade"?

An illustration of Biden signing an executive action and surrounded by imagery of bullets and gun protesters
(Image credit: Illustrated/Getty Images)

President Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday aimed at "increasing the number of background checks conducted before firearm sales," per a White House statement. The administration called the action "as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation." The executive order also seeks to increase public knowledge of "red flag" orders, which allow people to "temporarily remove an individual's access to firearms" if they are found to be dangerous. Lastly, the order hopes to promote better firearm storage.

The order does not change any current laws, reports The Associated Press, and instead "directs federal agencies to ensure compliance with existing laws and procedures," acknowledging that Congress is divided on the issue. "You'll absolutely hear [Biden] call for legislation," a White House official said. "But in the meantime, he wants the federal government to be doing all we can with existing authority to reduce gun violence and that's what this executive order does."

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