BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — President Joe Biden announced new executive orders aimed at stricter gun control in the U.S. on Thursday, but how much weight do those orders carry? And would they impact a state like California that already has strict gun laws?
“Anything significant about the regulation of firearms is going to have to come from Congress," said Jeremy Adams, a political science teacher at Bakersfield High School.
After President Biden’s press briefing outlining new executive orders having to do with gun control, some who watch politics closely, explaining the power that these orders hold. Adams says an executive order is basically a president telling his executive branch “how he is interpreting a law and how he is going to enforce the law," according to Adams.
Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy weighed in on the Biden Administration's plans to enact stricter gun control laws saying Democrats are taking the wrong approach. He said in part: "Instead of targeting criminals, they passed legislation that adds more hurdles for Americans to keep themselves and their families safe. Penalizing common private transfers, creating a de facto national gun registry, and ending the three-day-process-to-sale. These actions, like Biden's executive orders, are not in response to the facts. Instead, they are obvious attempts to cater to gun control activists."
Adams says this doesn’t mean the orders are completely powerless, but still, it appears much more work will need to be done in order to pass meaningful legislation that would actually change gun laws.
“This is more playing to his base. He’s had enormous pressure by the people on his side to do "something" for gun control," said Howard Marcus, a founding member of Kern Shooting Sports, a local firearms club.
The headlining issues of Biden's orders are so-called ghost guns, which are guns without serial numbers. And red flag laws, which often permit police or families to petition for the removal of a firearm from someone who may present danger. Marcus says the orders may not make a big difference in the Golden State.
"Ghost guns" typically refer to a firearm that does not have a traceable serial number. Most times people can assemble the guns themselves with parts they find online. In many cases, the parts up for sale are used to modify existing guns which in itself is not illegal. Think of that process like buying a new part for your car to make it function more effectively. Some elected officials and gun control advocates do however fear that manufacturing guns from a variety of parts can lead to more dangerous, untraceable weapons on the streets.
“The red flag law, the ghost gun issue, and the shoulder brace has already been regulated and legislated through California.”
Marcus says more conservative, pro-gun states are likely going to seek to pass second amendment sanctuary state laws. It's something that’s already been done in Arizona, and Governor Gregg Abbott says is likely on the way in Texas.
Despite mass shootings, gun ownership in the U.S. remains high
“They’re going to either not enforce, or completely ignore a lot of these federal rules in any event," Marcus said.
Marcus believes that the type of gun reform that’s needed is not going to come from the White House, but from the local level. Specifically, he says, mental health issues need to be addressed at an early age.