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Biden won’t rule out gun control via executive order

President Joe Biden signs executive orders, Jan. 28, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
February 16, 2021

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that President Joe Biden has not ruled out using executive orders for gun control.

When asked if Biden still intended to use executive action on gun control – a vow made during his campaign – Psaki responded, “The president has a range of actions at his disposal … he hasn’t ruled out either of those options.”

Biden’s campaign website boasted about his record working with legislative and executive actions during the Obama administration, pointing to “two dozen actions” the administration took after Biden was tasked with heading gun control measures.

Biden’s campaign website also stated, “Biden will also use his executive authority to ban the importation of assault weapons,” in addition to working with Congress to “ban the manufacture and safe of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

In December, Stef Feldman, the national policy director for Biden’s presidential campaign, said Biden would use executive action to combat gun violence if Democrats did not gain control of the Senate.

Feldman said at the time that Biden planned to “make big, bold changes through executive action, not just on policing and climate like we talked about previously, but in healthcare and education on gun violence, on a range of issues.”

Feldman said that Biden would implement changes on guns quickly, adding, “There’s really a lot you can do through guidance and executive action.”

Although he has not yet taken executive action, on Sunday, Biden asked Congress to pass strict gun control, including an “assault weapon” ban.

Biden said in a statement, “I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”

Also at the Tuesday press conference, Psaki was asked what Biden’s timetable is for those “common sense [gun control] measures.”

“Well, we haven’t proposed a package at this point,” Psaki responded. “So it’s hard for me to make a prediction about its likelihood of passing. But I will say that the president is somebody throughout his career who has advocated for smart gun safety measures. He has not afraid of standing up to the NRA. He’s done it multiple times and won on background checks and a range of issues. And it is a priority to him on a personal level, but I don’t have a prediction for you, or preview for you on a timeline of a package, and certainly not what it will look like and how it goes through Congress.”