Among other actions, the order directs U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland “to ensure that licensed gun dealers are aware and conduct the required background checks before purchases” in compliance with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (signed into law in June 2022).
On Dec. 18, 2018, the US Justice Department announced a new rule banning bump stocks, a gun attachment that allows a semi-automatic gun to fire rapidly like an automatic weapon. As of Mar. 26, 2019, the new rule classifies bump stocks as machine guns, which bans them nationwide under existing gun control laws. On Jan. 6, 2023, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the bump stock ban in a 13-3 decision.
On Sep. 19, 2022, US District Judge David Counts ruled that a federal law banning people under felony indictments from purchasing a firearm is unconstitutional based on the June 23, 2022 US Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Counts noted “this case’s real-world consequences – certainly valid public policy and safety concerns exist,” but countered, “the Government must prove that laws regulating conduct covered by the Second Amendment’s plain text align with this Nation’s historical tradition. The Government does not meet that burden.”
The US House and Senate compromised to pass the first major gun legislation package in almost three decades. The bill, signed by President Joe Biden on June 25, 2022, came together in the month after the Uvalde, Texas elementary school mass shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead, just after a Buffalo, New York grocery store shooting left 10 adults dead.
On Aug. 4, 2021, the Mexican government sued US gun manufacturers in US federal court. The Mexican government accused the manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc.; Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc.; Beretta U.S.A. Corp.; Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC, and Glock Inc, of “actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico.” The Foreign Affairs Ministry estimates 70% of guns trafficked in Mexico came from the United States, contributing to 17,000 homicides in 2019 alone. In Feb. 2022, the attorneys general of 13 states filed a brief in federal court supporting the Mexican government’s lawsuit.
The Mexican government accused the manufacturers of “actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico.”
On Jan. 15, 2021, the NRA filed for bankruptcy, and announced plans to leave New York, where the Attorney General was preparing legal action against the group, and move to Texas where the organization would reincorporate. On May 11, 2021, a federal judge dismissed the bankruptcy filing, allowing legal proceedings against the NRA to proceed in New York.
On Apr. 8, 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland outlined five actions to be taken by the Biden Administration to curb gun violence.
The FBI conducted more background checks in 2020 than in any other year since 1998 when the agency began collecting data. The FBI reported 39,695,315 background checks completed in 2020, up from 2019 in which 28,369,750 million checks were performed.
On Jan. 15, 2021, the NRA filed for bankruptcy, and announced plans to leave New York and move to Texas where the organization will reincorporate. New York Attorney General Letitia James called the move a “tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight.” NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre stated, “The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom.”
As of Nov. 2, 2020, the FBI has conducted more background checks in 2020 than in any other year since 1998 when the agency began collecting data. The FBI reported 16.5 million background checks in the first 10 months of 2020, beating the prior record of 14.9 million checks in 2016, and up significantly from 2019 in which 12.3 million checks were performed.
On Aug. 6, 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James, JD, MPA, filed a lawsuit arguing for the dissolution of the NRA and the removal of CEO Wayne LaPierre.
A Secret Service analysis found that of 24 mass shootings in 2019 at least 10 (42%) involved illegally possessed guns.
The FBI conducted over 3.7 million gun background checks in Mar. 2020, over 2.9 million in Apr. 2020, over 3.1 million in May 2020, over 3.9 million in June 2020 (an all-time high), and over 3.6 million in July 2020 as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continued.
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court declined to hear almost a dozen cases appealing gun control laws, leaving the laws in place.