Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden plans to begin his gun control agenda through executive orders that will start to flow soon after Inauguration Day, according to a top Biden aide.
Biden is planning to “make big, bold changes through executive action, not just on policing and climate like we talked about previously, but in health care and education on gun violence, on a range of issues,” Stef Feldman, the national policy director of Biden’s presidential campaign, said this week, according to the Washington Examiner, which reported that Biden, if he becomes president, is expected to “use executive orders” to push his agenda through.
“There’s really a lot you can do through guidance and executive action,” Feldman said.
Executive orders are often used by presidents who cannot convince Congress to do their bidding. Although Democrats have a narrow majority in the incoming House, the picture is less clear in the Senate.
Republicans have a 50-48 lead as of now, but two special elections in Georgia next month will change that picture.
If the Republicans prevent Democrats from taking both seats, sweeping gun control legislation would be unlikely to pass Congress.
Biden’s campaign website indicated that if elected, Biden would use the power of the presidential pen to implement his gun control agenda.
“Joe Biden also knows how to make progress on reducing gun violence using executive action,” the site said.
The site also said that while trying to pass legislation that would “[b]an the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” Biden would “use his executive authority to ban the importation of assault weapons.”
Biden’s anti-gun policies won him the support of former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination said he would seek to confiscate all AR-15s if elected.
Biden is being pushed to move quickly against guns.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the anti-gun group spearheaded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is demanding Biden issue a flurry of anti-gun executive orders, according to The New York Times.
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown, said that although Obama-era gun control efforts in which Biden was involved failed, the times have changed.
“There’s an entirely different environment where people know that gun safety is a public health crisis,” Feinblatt said.
But Biden himself sought to lower expectations this week while still promising action to undo the policies of President Donald Trump, according to CNN.
In a meeting with activist leaders, Biden said he will use his authority “to undo every single d— thing this guy has done by executive authority.”
However, he said, that authority is not unlimited.
“I am not going to violate the Constitution. Executive authority that my progressive friends talk about is way beyond the bounds,” he said,
In the meeting, Biden suggested that an executive order to ban what he termed “assault weapons” would be much easier to reverse than legislation.
“We do that, next guy comes along and says, ‘Well, guess what? By executive order, I guess everybody can have machine guns again,’” he said.
“So we’ve got to be careful.”
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