TOLEDO, Ohio — President Joe Biden signed an executive order Tuesday to strengthen gun background checks in the United States.

The order requires more background checks before you can buy guns. It also bolsters "Red-Flag Laws," addresses the loss or theft of guns during shipping, asks the federal trade commission to analyze gun marketing and increases federal support for gun violence survivors.

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It comes as violence, in shootings both mass and otherwise, continue to be a scourge on American cities, including Toledo.  

"I think a lot of people would be surprised to know this, our crime numbers are down, almost every single category is down, except one," Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said.

But that "one" in question has had a serious effect on some of the city's residents. It's resulted in record-breaking homicide numbers, grieving parents and kids caught in the crossfire.

So where are the people who pull the trigger getting their weapons? Will background checks really stop criminals?

Daryl McCormick, an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, traces the origins of guns used in crimes and he said it happens in two ways.

"Number one, through a licensed dealer," McCormick said. "And number two, from a theft. Which, right away, that's illegal."

According to the ATF, between 2017 to 2021, nearly 79,000 firearms were recovered from crimes across the state.

Around 1,100 of them had been stolen from a homeowner or gun store,
but McCormick said what's troubling is that the vast majority were legally purchased and then given to a criminal.

"Most of the time it's going to be where a criminal obtains a firearm from someone they know," he said. "Maybe a family member or somebody like that, who pretty much knows it's unlawful and pretty much knows they shouldn't have a firearm, but for some reason does it anyway."

McCormick said around 2,000 guns were seized in the greater Toledo area in 2022 and about 200 of them were used in a crime within 90 days or less of purchase.

"So that's a strong indicator to us that almost all of those firearms were purchased just for the sole purchase of providing them to criminals," McCormick said.

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What can be done to stop it?

"We're using things like our NIBIN - National Ballistics Information Network - where we're looking at connected shootings," McCormick said.

He said there are national efforts to increase requirements for firearm purchases, like the gun safety bill of 2022.

But McCormick said that as long as they can be sold, criminals will always find ways to get guns.