© 2024 WUKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Biden issues an executive order aimed at reducing gun violence


President Biden is taking executive action that he says could keep more guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Biden spoke yesterday in Monterey Park, Calif., where two months ago, a gunman killed 11 people and injured nine during Lunar New Year celebrations.

NPR's Deepa Shivaram reports.


DEEPA SHIVARAM, BYLINE: The gymnasium at the Boys and Girls Club in Monterey Park was packed. It was the president's first visit since the mass shooting that took place in January.


PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I'm here on behalf of the American people to mourn with you, to pray with you, to let you know you are loved and not alone.

SHIVARAM: Biden shared anecdotes about each of the victims. And later, he met privately with the families of those who died. But the president also said he was there to do something about gun violence.


BIDEN: We remember and mourn today, but I'm here with you today to act.

SHIVARAM: Biden signed an executive order to try to get smaller firearms sellers and online sellers to conduct background checks on someone buying a gun. Last year, more than 31 million background checks took place, according to the FBI. The White House didn't have answers on how many more checks they expect will happen with this new move, but they say it's the closest the U.S. can get to universal background checks without additional legislation from Congress. And there's more.


BIDEN: We need to provide more mental health support and grief - for grief and trauma.


BIDEN: And more financial assistance when a family loses the sole breadwinner.

SHIVARAM: Biden wants the government to step in to help communities impacted by mass shootings the way FEMA helps after a natural disaster. His executive order also allows the government to name and shame more people who break the rules. And that's a good move, says Greg Jackson, the president of a gun advocacy group called the Community Justice Action Fund.

GREG JACKSON: We're excited that there's now a stronger push for accountability to the manufacturers, the industry and the dealers that, frankly, are profiting off of the pain.

SHIVARAM: In the lead-up to 2024, there are political benefits to Biden's executive order as well. Democratic strategist Tory Gavito says Biden's actions help push back on claims that Democrats are soft on crime.

TORY GAVITO: People have been looking for leaders to do something on this for so long.

SHIVARAM: She says Biden's background checks will have a lot of appeal across both parties. In an NPR poll from last summer, even 80% of Republican gun owners said they favored universal background checks.

Deepa Shivaram, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF GOGO PENGUIN'S "ASCENT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.