FederalGunsIssuesBiden Issues Executive Order on Red Flag Laws, Background Checks

Part of Biden’s order seeks to implement gun reform legislation supported by Texas Sen. John Cornyn.
March 14, 2023
President Joe Biden signed an executive order Tuesday that included a broad range of both gun control and gun safety-related measures, as part of the administration’s ongoing effort to enact more restrictive firearm laws.

Biden announced that though the order aimed at “reducing gun violence and making our communities safer,” it doesn’t go as far as he would like. He called on Congress to pass sweeping gun control legislation to ban “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines as well as require universal background checks.

“In the meantime, my Administration will continue to do all that we can, within existing authority, to make our communities safer,” Biden wrote in a statement.

In the order, Biden instructed federal agencies to further implement the Safer Communities Act, legislation passed last year that carried bipartisan support, including from Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

The Safer Communities Act divided Texas Republicans, including former Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), who expressed concern that the bill funded “red flag” type laws.

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Emergency risk protective orders, or “red flag” laws as they are known, are controversial policies that allow law enforcement with a judge’s order to confiscate firearms from someone they believe is at a high risk of doing something illegal with them, but have not yet committed a crime.

Today, Biden’s order instructs six federal agencies to begin implementing red flag-type protective order laws, writing that they “shall undertake efforts to encourage effective use of extreme risk protection orders (red flag laws), partnering with law enforcement, health care providers, educators, and other community leaders.”

The order also cracks down on federal firearm licenses (FFL), issued to businesses that buy and sell firearms, including instructions to review who is subject to licensure and requires FFLs who have violated rules in the past to face permanent denial of their license.

Attorneys with the Texas Public Policy Foundation say the Biden administration’s heavy-handedness with gun stores has been abused to the extent that their actions are violating Second Amendment, prompting litigation over the issue.

But the executive order isn’t entirely about passing greater restrictions on firearms; it also provides resources for firearms safety initiatives and mental health.

Several federal agencies are instructed to study and recommend ways the administration can “better support the recovery, mental health, and other needs of survivors of gun violence, families of victims and survivors of gun violence, first responders to incidents of gun violence, and communities affected by gun violence” as well as develop and implement principles to “further firearm and public safety practices.”


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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy. He graduated from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.