White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there is an “ongoing policy process internally” on the possibility of executive actions on guns, but did not provide many specific details.
“The vice president touched on the fact that we want something to be permanent. If we want it to be lasting, we need to do legislation, he (Biden) certainly believes that, but there are also executive actions under consideration that we will continue working through internally. And there's lots of levers, you can take, obviously, as President,” she said.
Psaki said analysis has “been ongoing for several weeks,” before tragedies in Atlanta and in Boulder.
President Biden would like to address gun access, as well as addressing community violence and other root causes, she said.
As for congressional action, Psaki reiterated the White House would like to see the Senate take action on House-passed legislation on background checks, a topic on which she noted has wide public support.
So far, a few pieces of potential action have emerged:
- Requiring background checks on “ghost guns,” which are handmade or self-assembled firearms that don’t have serial numbers. The action would officially classify them as firearms, therefore requiring a background check.
- Strengthening the federal background check system to alert law enforcement agencies when someone fails a check. Advocates for this step say it could potentially flag troubled or criminal individuals who are trying to access weapons.
- Fulfilling a campaign pledge to send $900 million for community programs meant to combat violence.
- Providing a better and more expansive definition of what "in the business" of selling guns means, which is the current statutory definition of who requires a license and must conduct background checks. Former President Obama also worked through the "in the business" phrasing to try and expand background checks.
- Biden has also said he’ll task the attorney general with better enforcement of existing gun laws.