The Biden administration will also publish model “red flag” laws – designed to limit guns sales to high-risk customers – for state legislatures to follow.
Gun control advocate Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter died in a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, described the measures as the boldest gun control reforms in the past 30 years.
However, Biden acknowledged far more would have to be done to seriously dent gun violence deaths and that he was limited in what he could achieve through executive orders.
He called on Congress to pass a series of gun control bills, including banning assault weapons, requiring universal background checks for firearm purchases and ending legal immunity for gun manufacturers.
“They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress,” Biden said.
“But they have passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence. Enough prayers, time for some action.“
He said it was a “phoney argument” to claim that such policies were an infringement on the second amendment right to firearms.
“No amendment to the constitution is absolute,” he said.
Passing gun control legislation would require the support of at least 10 Republicans in the Senate, which seems to be highly unlikely if not impossible at the moment.
A push to require universal background checks for firearm purchases, introduced after the death of 20 young children at a school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, fizzled out in 2013 because of a lack of support from Republicans.
Garland said Americans were dying from gun violence at a “staggering pace” given 11,000 people have already lost their lives to firearms this year.
The National Rifle Association responded to the announcement in a tweet: “Biden is dismantling the 2nd Amendment. It’s time to STAND and FIGHT!”