Joe Biden’s Anti-Gun Executive Order: What You Need to Know

By now, you’ve likely heard that President Joe Biden has issued an Executive Order titled Reducing Gun Violence and Making Our Communities Safer. You’ve also probably seen the breathless media coverage trumpeting the notion that Biden’s order “moves the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible,” along with enthusiastic comments from the usual gun control suspects.

Joe Biden Executive Order
Joe Biden is at it again. (

We purposely waited until the order’s text was published before writing about it, and we can tell you that neither the order’s title, nor the media’s fawning coverage, is accurate. The gun control activists’ comments are certainly not, but what else is new? The order isn’t particularly long, and a good bit of the text is mere political fluff, so let’s break it down and talk about what the order is, what it purports to do, and what it will not do.

Political Fluff

Like other presidents, Biden fills his executive orders with political propaganda telling everyone how great he is. In this case, he spouts the same lines about mass shootings. Never mind those numbers are grossly exaggerated thanks to the propaganda outfit known as the Gun Violence Archive, from which all gun controllers get their data these days. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

He also brags about how anti-gun he is and repeats his tired old line about how Congress should ban “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines. Whatever. We’ve heard it all before. Let’s get on with what this order actually does.

“Implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”

This refers to last year’s law that provides money to states to enact Red Flag laws, allows the cops to take guns from anyone subject to a restraining order, and “enhanced” background checks for purchasers aged 18 to 20.

Biden’s order directs the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Education, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit reports within 60 days detailing what actions their agencies have taken to implement the act. They are also to provide analyses regarding the use and early effects of the act, and to describe their future plans regarding the act’s implementation.

Merrick Garland
Attorney General Merrick Garland is no friend of gun rights. He will figure prominently in implementing Biden’s anti-gun Executive Order. (


That last part includes a plan for “increasing public awareness” of the act. That means we’ll be seeing lots more propaganda regarding its effect on violent crime. They will likely have to look far and wide to find anything positive there. But the main thing is probably aimed at squeezing more money from gun control advocates. And we’d like to know how the Secretary of Education fits here. Health and Human Services is predictable, given the gun controller’s efforts to frame their agenda as a public health measure, but Education? The act did nothing to harden schools, but we think we know what’s happening and will hit on it in a moment.

“Additional Agency Actions to Reduce Gun Violence”

This is where we find the meat, and we can say with confidence that these actions will not “reduce gun violence,” considering they only go after responsible gun owners. But, as always, despite the rhetoric, this stuff isn’t about curbing crime. It’s about making civilian gun ownership as difficult and expensive as possible. There are eight sections to this, so let’s hit each one briefly. They don’t have titles, so we’ll list them by the officials to whom they are directed.

The Attorney General

“Clarify the definition of who is engaged in the business of dealing in firearms, and thus required to become Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), in order to increase compliance with the Federal background check requirement for firearms sales, including by considering a rulemaking, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.”

This is the part that supposedly moves us as close to “universal” background checks as possible. It’s what they sometimes call the “gun show loophole.” Basically, Biden and his gun control cronies don’t like that people make individual sales without going through an FFL, but Congress hasn’t passed a law requiring that, although some states have.

But the important part here is the line that says, “considering a rulemaking.” That means Biden wants AG Merrick Garland to direct the ATF to make yet another rule, this time regarding who is and isn’t an FFL. It’s one more end run around Congress by this administration, similar to the Frames and Receivers and Pistol Brace Rules. Never mind that both of those rules are facing stiff challenges in court as being unconstitutional. But gun controllers have never cared about constitutionality. This part is, essentially, setting the ATF on individual sales.

ATF meme
Biden’s Executive Order directs the ATF to infringe even more through the rulemaking process.

“Prevent former FFLs whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered from continuing to engage in the business of dealing in firearms.”

This is already against the law, and is it really a problem? We suspect this is an extension of the previous directive, aiming at former FFLs who still sell a gun here and there, using it as justification for the ATF’s new rule.

“Publicly release, to the fullest extent permissible by law, inspection reports of FFL dealers cited for violations of the law.”

This one is particularly nefarious. Releasing that information will open up individual FFLs to frivolous lawsuits over the smallest of clerical errors. We know that Biden’s ATF is shutting down FFLs at a record pace over the most mundane things. This will let the litigation-happy gun control groups sue these dealers out of existence, considering they have Michael Bloomberg’s millions behind them, and local gun shops certainly do not.

Biden seems to support those groups’ notion that destroying the industry will accomplish their goals very nicely. He’s said as much with his constant calls for repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and his repeated complaints that gun manufacturers “be held accountable” for the actions of criminals who misuse their products.

Joe Biden Executive Order
Joe Biden doesn’t mind being protected by guns, including so-called “assault weapons.” He just doesn’t want you to protect yourself with them. (

“Support efforts to modernize and make permanent the Undetectable Firearms Act.”

This gem goes back to the movie Die Hard II, in which they go on about the fictional “Glock 7,” which can be smuggled aboard airliners because it’s made of porcelain, and therefore can defeat metal detectors. Only Hollywood could come up with that one.

But Congress, being the uninformed body it often is, took that plot line and made a law against “undetectable” firearms, stipulating that they all had to include a certain amount of metal in their construction. This directive is likely aimed at 3D-printed guns. Good luck with that one.

The Secretary of Defense; the Attorney General; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Secretary of Health and Human Services, including the Surgeon General of the United States; the Secretary of Education; and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs

“Expand existing Federal campaigns and other efforts to promote safe storage of firearms.”

This is clearly a directive aimed at further curtailing the Second Amendment rights of service members. We’ve seen that the military is mandating strict storage policies and even banning private firearm possession. This, for a population segment that, as a whole, has the most firearms training anywhere in the country. And many of whom have extensive training and experience. Yet they supposedly cannot be trusted with guns.

This has been presented as a suicide prevention measure. You decide whether or not that’s true.

It will also mean more “public health” campaigns against gun ownership, including pushing ridiculous storage laws. Your doctor may decide to question you further on that, like it’s any of their business.

And, once again, the Secretary of Education makes an appearance. Could be that a school-based anti-gun propaganda campaign is coming. And don’t forget Veterans Affairs. We know that veterans are being stripped of their Second Amendment rights over frivolous diagnoses by the VA. Many are now afraid to seek help because of these policies. Looks like Biden thinks it’s a great idea.

The Secretary of Defense; the Attorney General; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Secretary of Health and Human Services, including the Surgeon General; and the Secretary of Education

“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.”

In other words, those agencies will be pressing the police, doctors, teachers, and whomever else they think will be useful to issue more Red Flag orders. Never mind that they are patently unconstitutional in that they violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, as well as the Fourth and Sixth Amendments. Fortunately, these agency heads can only “encourage,” but expect some doctors and teachers to question you or your kids about things that are none of their business.

Military members will no doubt be ordered to snitch on their comrades. Whether or not they do so remains to be seen.

Red Flag Laws
Biden’s Executive Order pushes hard on Red Flag Laws. (

The Attorney General; the Secretary of Health and Human Services, including the Surgeon General; the Secretary of Education; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and the heads of other agencies, as appropriate.

This one is pretty long, so we’ll just sum it up. Essentially, this directive orders these agencies to set up a FEMA-like response organization aimed at supporting “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.” Note the repeated employment of the phrase “gun violence.” More propaganda.

Far be it from us to deny the trauma felt by these people, but are the Feds the best people to implement something like this? Frankly, it sounds like a dog and pony show to push an agenda. We wonder whether they will deploy to Chicago and Baltimore every weekend.

The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security

“Develop and implement principles to further firearms and public safety practices through the Department of Defense’s acquisition of firearms, consistent with applicable law.”

We haven’t seen much on this one, though it has been speculated that prospective defense contracts could be contingent upon companies not producing civilian versions of military firearms. Again, that one bears watching.

The Heads of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

This mandates that all the alphabet law enforcement agencies upgrade efforts to share data from the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network with police forces nationwide. We can certainly see how this may help solve crimes. We do not see how it will prevent or reduce “gun violence” since ballistics information is collected after the fact. We will concede that it may occasionally result in an earlier arrest of a violent criminal, thus preventing that criminal from instigating future mayhem.

The Secretary of Transportation, in Conjunction with the Department of Justice

“Work to reduce the loss or theft of firearms during shipment between FFLs and to improve reporting of such losses or thefts, including by engaging with shippers and carriers.”

This looks to be a furtherance of last year’s political pressure on companies like FedEx and UPS to implement onerous shipping rules on FFLs, making it more difficult and more expensive to ship firearms. Those additional costs will be passed on to the consumer, thus contributing to the goal of making firearms ownership prohibitively expensive. This has become a major gun control strategy.

The Federal Trade Commission

The FTC “is encouraged to issue a public report analyzing how gun manufacturers market firearms to minors and how such manufacturers market firearms to civilians, including through the use of military imagery.”

Once again, this is an attempt to open gunmakers to frivolous lawsuits like the one that took down Remington. First, minors already can’t buy guns, but this is probably a swipe at the JR-15 .22 rifle that looks like an AR-15. That really made the gun controllers wet their pants, despite the fact that youth and Cricket rifles have literally been around for decades.

Lawyer Josh Koskoff
Lawyers like Josh Koskoff, who litigated the Remington case, will be licking their chops at the prospect of attacking gunmakers’ advertising and public release of trivial FFL violations. (

Second, gun controllers claim that companies who use military imagery incite purchasers to act out certain fantasies, despite zero evidence of that being the case. Companies who produce civilian versions of their military firearms have long touted that fact as a symbol of reliability.

But since the Remington lawsuit, unscrupulous lawyers have seized on the strategy of attacking gunmakers’ marketing strategies as supposedly being irresponsible. First Amendment be damned. But, again, since when have gun controllers cared about the Constitution?


This Executive Order does not carry the force of law in that it lays down mandates that citizens must follow. Rather, it sets numerous federal agencies working on the fringes to make private gun ownership more difficult, more expensive, and potentially more perilous from a legal standpoint, especially the Red Flag nonsense and the concerted efforts to go after FFLs and gun manufacturers.

This order will do nothing to “reduce gun violence” or “make our communities safer.” Did you notice that the only thing that might impact criminals is the ballistic data sharing? Everything else targets lawful gun owners, dealers, and manufacturers engaged in legal commerce and the exercise of Constitutional rights. If that doesn’t tell you where this most anti-gun of presidents’ priorities lie, I don’t know what will.

Numerous gun rights organizations have promised lawsuits against actions resulting from Biden’s order. We will have to wait to see what those actions are, specifically, before any legal action can be initiated. Expect the ATF to be the subject of at least one.

Once again, this is smoke and mirrors. It’s the proverbial pig with lipstick, in that it’s meant to pander to an ill-informed public who are being maneuvered into supporting gun control and legal targeting of the gun industry. The target, as always, is private gun ownership, not crime reduction. But we’re not surprised. It’s what Joe Biden and his handlers do.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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