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Can President Biden use executive powers for gun control?

President Biden can direct existing infrastructure, like the background check system, to operate differently.

UVALDE, Texas — In light of the Texas shooting, there are voices across the country calling for stricter gun control. While California advanced new bills Wednesday, when it comes to federal regulation, what can President Biden do on his own without congressional support?

According to legal analyst Dan Eaton, the President’s powers are limited.

"A lot of the powers the President has deals with the extent to which and how he enforces existing laws rather than creating new laws and regulations," said Eaton.

For example, President Biden can direct existing infrastructure like the background check system to operate differently, or use trade policies to control how many guns wind up on our streets.

Following the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, President Obama took certain executive actions, including requiring that the social security administration turn over records of people deemed mentally ill to the federal background check system.

He also ordered the ATF be more aggressive in enforcing a law requiring people who are "engaged in the business" of selling firearms to conduct background checks.

Beyond that, Eaton said you need congressional support:

"President Biden can change the conversation. The question though, is what can he do effectively in the face of a resistant Congress?"

What about appointing a so-called gun czar?

Eaton says their powers would be limited as well.

“What a gun czar would do is look at the various laws and regulations, make recommendations for bolstering the enforcement of existing laws and suggest regulations where there is some sort of authority to do so,” said Eaton.

At this point, Eaton said it's going to be up to local and state officials to enact their own laws related to gun control.

"The government can do something at the local, state and federal level, but that still begs the question as to whether something is going to be effective in preventing a shooting," said Eaton.

Watch Related: President Biden says 'we have to act' after Texas school shooting (May 24, 2022)



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