President Joe Biden (D.) used a historic number of executive orders on his first day in office to deliver on promises made to indebted students, environmentalists, and immigration activists while turning a cold shoulder to gun-control advocates.
Biden’s 17 actions dealt with issues from freezing payments and interest rates on student loans to revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit to rejoining the Paris Agreement and World Health Organization. His administration announced plans for further executive actions on climate change, health care, immigration, and national security by the end of the month. Despite boasting on his campaign website that he “knows how to make progress on reducing gun violence using executive action” and being historically aggressive in his use of day one executive orders—issuing more than Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton combined—gun control was not part of the day one blitz, and no future executive actions on guns have been announced.
The Biden administration did not respond to a request for comment.
Experts said Biden’s lack of immediate movement on gun control signals it could be a lesser issue for the incoming administration. They pointed to the controversial nature of the issue and the marginal political benefit executive action offers to Democrats.
Jake Charles, executive director of Duke University’s Center for Firearms Law, told the Free Beacon “many of yesterday’s orders are less controversial than might be first-day executive action on guns.” He said the lack of action could indicate the Biden administration plans to try to push gun legislation over pursuing executive actions—at least to begin with. Or it could signal a more cautious approach to the issue overall.
“It’s possible the lack of first-day orders on gun issues may also signal a slower, more cautious approach to gun policy than some regulation advocates hoped—and slower too than the approach some regulation opponents feared,” Charles said.