Biden moves to require more gun sellers to run background checks

by Vern Evans

President Biden’s administration is preparing to enforce a new rule that would greatly expand the number of people who sell firearms who are required to carry out background checks on buyers

The administration rule would apply to thousands of dealers who make sales at gun shows and other venues outside traditional gun stores.

“This is going to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons,” Biden said in a statement. “And my administration is going to continue to do everything we possibly can to save lives. Congress needs to finish the job and pass universal background checks legislation now.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland offered details on the new rule on Wednesday. He said anyone who sells a firearm predominantly for profit must be federally registered and conduct a background check on the customer.

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The administration predicts that the rule will force some 20,000 firearms dealers to start conducting background checks, on top of the 80,000 federally-registered dealers that were already doing so.

While Biden’s administration says it is confident the rule is legal, it is nevertheless a prime target for legal challenges by gun rights groups. As of Thursday morning, however, no legal challenges had been filed.

“This final rule does not infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights, and it will not negatively impact the many law-abiding licensed firearms dealers in our nation,” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Director Steve Dettelbach said in a statement. “They are already playing by the rules.”

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The rule comes roughly a month after Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced legislation aimed at protecting gun dealers from Biden’s “gun-grabbing agenda.”

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The bill, introduced in late February, would “provide firearm licensees an opportunity to correct statutory and regulatory violations, and for other purposes,” and says the “Attorney General may not bring an enforcement action to revoke, or deny a renewal of, a license for a violation of any provision of this chapter or any implementing regulation thereof on the basis of a self-reported violation.”

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Ernst said the bill aims to ensure the government works with gun dealers to comply with the law rather than shut them down.

“For years, the Biden administration has cracked down on law-abiding gun dealers to advance its gun-grabbing agenda, even preventing small businesses from making a living. Rather than helping dealers comply with the law, Biden’s ATF has created more hurdles to legally sell guns, so it can turn around and revoke licenses for inconsequential, so-called ‘violations.’ While Joe Biden’s ATF has avoided critical oversight on its FFL abuse for over a year, I am proud to stand up for law-abiding Iowa gun dealers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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