The Weekly Reload Podcast

What Does President Biden's New Executive Order on Guns Do? (Feat. Heritage's Amy Swearer)

March 20th, 2023

President Joe Biden announced a set of new executive orders this week that could have wide-ranging effects.

But what does his order actually do? Well, that's what we brought Amy Swearer on to explain. She's the conservative Heritage Foundation's gun policy expert who regularly testifies on Capitol Hill.

She said three of the initiatives have the potential to have a severe impact on gun owners across America. The effort to broaden the requirement for those selling guns to obtain a federal license, the directive that federal agencies and the military try to add gun-control requirements to their gun acquisition contracts, and the request for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate gun company advertising could have the most significant effect. Swearer said those policies could make it much more difficult for private individuals and companies to sell guns.

However, we don't yet know precisely how the administration will put President Biden's order into practice. And there are real hurdles to implementing them in the most aggressive possible approach.

When it comes to changing the standard for who qualifies as being "engaged in the business" of dealing guns, the President will have to work within the legal definition set by Congress. The Department of Defense is unlikely to compromise the effectiveness of its weapons to push a backdoor gun-control regime. And the FTC doesn't have to listen to Biden's request at all. 

Still, Swearer argued he might push the boundaries of what's possible on all three.

But this order is undoubtedly less substantial than President Biden's previous executive actions on guns. His 'ghost gun" and pistol-brace bans affect millions of Americans, potentially subjecting them to federal felon charges if they don't give up or register their affected firearms and parts.

Of course, those orders are also under intense legal scrutiny. The "ghost gun" rule has already been mostly blocked, and it's very likely the pistol-brace ban will soon face the same fate. But Swearer said gun owners should remain concerned about where this new order could end up.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss North Carolina's gun advocates' latest effort to repeal the state's pistol-purchase-permit law.