What's on our Mind 3-17-2023

President Joe Biden signed his 108th Executive Order on Tuesday directing federal agencies to do all that they can to “pursue every legally available and appropriate action to reduce gun violence” by ensuring compliance with existing laws and procedures.
Specifically, the order instructs all appropriate governmental departments to swiftly begin intensifying the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. That historic legislation, signed by Biden, can save lives while we continue to work with Congress to ban assault weapons.
This executive order also tasks the U.S. Attorney General to increase background checks by cracking down on gun sellers who don't perform them. Background checks work. States with laws requiring background checks for all gun sales had 10 percent lower homicides rates.
He also included efforts to expand safe storage of guns. There is a bill currently in the House and Senate, Ethan’s Law, that would require gun owners to secure their firearms if a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without permission. Each year hundreds of children unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else with an unsecured firearm. (Call your Representative and Senators at 202-224-3231 and ask them to co-sponsor Ethan’s Law.)
While Congressional efforts to keep our communities safe are bottlenecked in Congress, Biden is using all the powers of his office to try and end gun violence. This includes ensuring that existing laws are enforced through his recent executive order.
The Constitution grants the president the unique power of the executive order to make sure laws are enforced and faithfully executed. Executive orders have been used by nearly every president since the beginning of our nation. 
George Washington used eight executive orders, while FDR used 3,700. President Abraham Lincoln even used an executive order to end slavery when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Ending gun violence takes efforts across the board. First and foremost, we need to elect candidates who understand that gun violence is a public health crisis and must be addressed comprehensively on all levels. Executive orders help, but laws are the only long-term answers. To make better laws, we need to change Congress. 
Elections have consequences.