An Executive Order
to Get … the Good Guys?

Biden's executive order

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By Charles.C.W.Cooke. May 30, 2023

In March, President Joe Biden (D) released an executive order that managed, in the space of just a few pages, to demonstrate the remarkable cluelessness of his administration on the questions of crime, 'gun control' and his role in determining federal law. Among the entities that are targeted by the document are gun dealers, gun manufacturers and Americans who buy their firearms legally. Not targeted by the order are the criminals who are responsible for the rise in crime. It was predictable and sad in equal measure.

The best thing that can be said of Biden’s order is that it will do nothing at all. The worst thing that can be said is that, once again, Biden is attempting to rewrite the law without the involvement of the United States Congress. In a speech announcing the move, Biden explained that his ultimate aim was “to require background checks for all firearm sales,” but that, in the absence of such a provision, he was settling for an “executive order” that “directs my attorney general to take every lawful action possible to move us as close as we can to universal background checks without new legislation.”

What does this mean in practice? That remains unclear. The relevant part of Biden’s order instructs the DOJ to “clarify the definition of who is engaged in the business of dealing in firearms, and thus required to become Federal firearms licensees (FFLs).” But this definition is already extremely clear in the U.S. Code. Until 2022, the statutory definition of “engaged in the business” was “a person who devotes time, attention and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his collection of firearms.” .....


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