Biden signs executive order to require background checks for gun sales | USA TODAY

President Joe Biden signed a new executive order to expand background checks for gun purchasing.

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President Joe Biden took executive action Tuesday that seeks to increase the number of background checks conducted during gun sales as the White House reverts to unilateral ways to tackle gun control amid bleak prospects in Congress.

The order stops short of requiring universal background checks, which the president has asked Congress to pass through legislation. His action instead directs Attorney General Merrick Garland to clarify what it means to be "engaged in the business" of selling firearms.

Federal law requires that individuals in the business of selling guns be federally licensed and therefore check the backgrounds of buyers. Under the order, Garland will use his discretion to ensure gun sellers "willfully violating the law" and those unaware of background requirements become compliant.

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