AMNA NAWAZ: President Biden traveled to Monterey Park, California, today, where a mass shooting in January killed 11 people.
While there, he announced an executive order to tackle gun violence, building on the bipartisan Safer Communities Act that he signed last year.
Already this year, there have been at least 110 mass shootings in the U.S. and more than 8,000 gun deaths, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.
White House correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez brings us up to speed now.
Laura, good to see you.
So tell us about the president's announcement today.
What exactly did he announce?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: President Biden announced an executive order on guns, Amna, that will take a number of steps that gun safety advocates have been calling on his administration to do since he took office.
And so this gun violence executive order, what it would do is, it directs the attorney general to clarify who sells firearms, in effect, expanding background checks.
It would prevent some former federally licensed gun dealers from selling firearms.
Those are gun dealers who had their licenses revoked in some cases.
It also encourages the Federal Trade Commission to issue a public report on marketing to minors.
And it tasks agencies to create a federal system for shooting response.
In addition to this, Amna, as you noted, the president spoke today announcing these executive actions.
And he admitted that his hands are ultimately tied when it comes to bigger steps to curb gun violence.
And he called out Congress like this: JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: But let's be clear.
None of this absolves Congress the responsibility -- from the responsibility of acting to pass universal background checks, eliminate gun manufacturer immunity from liability.
(APPLAUSE) JOE BIDEN: And I'm determined once again to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: In addition, Amna, he also called out Republicans, some Republicans that he says are calling to ban -- to abolish -- excuse me -- the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco services, as well as the FBI.
AMNA NAWAZ: Laura, tell us more about that, the first piece you mentioned on background checks, because we hear a lot about that in the gun safety debate.
What's the potential impact of that part of the executive order?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes, Amna, so here, the real difficulty is that there is no federal data on how guns are purchased -- on how many guns are purchased without background checks.
And the studies are limited, but there was a 2017 study by Harvard and Northeastern universities.
And that study found that one in five people, one in five gun owners bought a gun without a background check.
And, again, what the president is doing today with this action is trying to get as close as possible to a universal background check without legislation by the Congress.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, Laura, what are gun safety advocates, who have long been calling for the president, for Congress to do more, what are they saying about this today?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: Overall, gun safety advocates that I spoke to praised the president's actions.
In particular, they were very happy about this one effort that we're talking about that would more clearly define which businesses qualify as firearms dealers.
And President Obama tried to do this in 2016.
But, ultimately, it didn't have much effect.
I spoke to Kris Brown, the president of the Brady Campaign, a gun safety group, and she had this to say about how President Biden's actions would be different.
KRIS BROWN, President, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: The lesson is that we have to have a very clear rule from the Department of Justice of what it means to be in the business of selling firearms.
We want that to mean selling more than five firearms in a year.
It means you are in the business of selling firearms.
If DOJ comes up with that definition, which we are pushing very hard, we can effectively close this loophole in the law.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: Now, you heard there what Kris Brown wants the definition to be, but a White House official told reporters that, ultimately, the language of this possible regulation will be decided upon by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
AMNA NAWAZ: Laura, I know you have been talking to your law enforcement sources as well.
Many of them find themselves on the front lines when it comes to our gun violence problem in America.
What do they think about the president's announcement?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: So there is something in here for law enforcement, Amna, specifically about the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, known as NIBIN, that helps law enforcement match cartridge casings to the guns that they're fired from.
And I spoke to Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, and he had this to say about the president's action on that ballistics information network.
JIM PASCO, Executive Director, National Fraternal Order of Police: NIBIN is purely an anti-criminal tool.
And in terms of solving crimes, which is second only to preventing crimes in the minds of law enforcement officers, nothing is more valuable than being able to put the gun in the hands of the shooter, figuratively, and show where it came from.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: And so what this executive order does, Amna, is, it updates the requirements for law enforcement to more speedily report this ballistics data.
So, they will report it faster and more efficiently into this nationwide network.
AMNA NAWAZ: That is our White House correspondent, Laura Barron-Lopez, reporting for us tonight.
Laura, thank you.
Good to see you.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: Thank you.