The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is set to implement a new policy, likely at the direction of President Joe Biden, that takes aim at legal gun owners.
According to the Washington Post, the new rule is designed to force more background checks on additional gun sales.
“The rules would codify changes outlined in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was signed by [Biden] in June 2022 and was the nation’s most significant gun-control legislation in 30 years,” the Post reported.
The rules seek to close the so-called “gun show loophole” that Democrats, for years, have claimed — wrongly — has led to a rash of illegal firearms sales. In fact, dealers who sell at gun shows are still required to have buyers submit a background check form and have it OK’ed by the FBI, the same as if they were trying to purchase a firearm in their gun store.
At present, there are no federal requirements for buyers to undergo a background check if they are buying a gun from a private individual.
The president has said he wants private sellers to have to first obtain a federal firearms dealer license before they can sell a gun, even though that is not their primary form of income.
“The rules, which could be challenged in court, will be finalized and enacted after a 90-day public comment period,” the Post reported on Thursday.
It’s almost guaranteed that the rule will be subjected to a lawsuit.
Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, blasted the onerous new rules in a news release.
“Now, anyone who sells a single firearm in a given year and makes even a penny of profit will be subject to dealer requirements, including a background check,” he said. “People need to realize this is just the next step in the anti-gunners’ longform playbook to enact backdoor universal registration of firearms, and eventually, to confiscate all firearms. They will not stop until that day.”
In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court’s constitutional originalist majority has struck down a number of state gun control laws as violative of the Second Amendment, but that hasn’t stopped the Biden administration from attempting to revive them.
Last month, for instance, the administration begged the high court with an urgent request to stop a decision that would have rendered all national federal “ghost gun” regulations invalid.
Last year, Biden announced a crackdown on “ghost guns,” or firearms that are sold as do-it-yourself kits. However, there have been numerous legal challenges to the ATF regulation.
In July, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the regulation was unconstitutional and ordered its nationwide revocation.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has since narrowed the decision to only invalidate parts of the rule, but the Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to suspend the entire decision while the case is still pending.
Two provisions are up for debate before the Supreme Court: The first makes it clear that certain parts kits are included in the federal definition of a “firearm,” and the second defines “frame or receiver” to include disassembled parts that are easily convertible into a working firearm.
The rule extends to the new covered parts of the federal regulations on serial numbers, record-keeping, background checks, and other matters. The ATF’s expanded definitions, however, were deemed to go beyond the purview of federal gun laws by the federal judge in Texas.
Gun rights advocates were given a week to respond to the administration’s request after conservative Justice Samuel Alito, who handles emergency requests from the 5th Circuit, ordered a pause. The order does not represent the high court’s ultimate decision, The Hill reported.