Biden and Gun Control


Kylie McGovern, Editor

Image depicts one of the many gun control protests within the United States.

On Tuesday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, announced that President Joe Biden is considering an executive action involving gun control and the Second Amendment. In response to recent mass shootings in Boulder, CO and Atlanta, GA, Biden cannot “wait another minute, let alone an hour” to enact gun control legislation. Psaki says, “we are considering a range of levers, including working through legislation, including executive action.” 

Biden is encouraging Congress to ban assault weapons and to pass bills ensuring stricter background checks. President Biden says he “got that done as a senator. It brought down mass shootings, we can do it again. We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.” On March 11, the Democratic-majority House of Representatives passed a bill regarding an expansion of background checks on all commercial guns. One of the two bills, H.R. 8, “establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties (i.e., unlicensed individuals). Specifically, it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check. The prohibition does not apply to certain firearm transfers or exchanges, such as a gift between spouses in good faith.” This bill has bipartisan support and the final vote on the background check bill was 227-203 in the House. Eight Republicans supported the legislation. One Democrat voted against it. However, despite bipartisan support, similar bills have not passed in the Senate with bipartisan house support. The other bill would be in an effort to close various loopholes in the sale and purchase of guns. This bill revises background check requirements applicable to proposed firearm transfers from a federal firearms licensee (e.g., a licensed gun dealer) to an unlicensed person. Specifically, it increases the amount of time, from three business days to a minimum of 10 business days, that a federal firearms licensee must wait to receive a completed background check prior to transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person. (This type of transaction is often referred to as a default proceed transaction).

If a submitted background check remains incomplete after 10 business days, then the prospective purchaser may submit a petition for a final firearms eligibility determination. If an additional 10 days elapse without a final determination, then the federal firearms licensee may transfer the firearm to the prospective purchaser. It would close the “Charleston Loophole,” which allows some gun sales to go through before a required background check. This legislation is not passed and needs Senate approval, but this is the beginning of a process towards stricter gun control laws and therefore less gun violence in the United States. 

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