Biden Administration to close ‘gun show loophole’

Biden Administration to close ‘gun show loophole’


The new rule was a product of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

The Biden Administration on Thursday announced they are closing what is often known as the “gun show loophole,” by tightening up the definition of what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has just implemented a change in the federal register language, which was previously more specific to who was selling guns, and the agency did it in accordance with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was passed in 2022.

The administration rolled out the proposed rule in September 2023, taking in over 300,000 comments from the public.

Prior to the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, those “engaged in the business” of firearms dealer were required to register to become a federally licensed firearm dealer, according to the language previously used. The definition that ATF is implementing on Thursday is more specific to better regulate the market in accordance with the new federal law, according to the White House.

The rule now explicitly lists the types of commercial activities that indicate whether a person should become a federally licensed dealer and thus be required to run a background check; prevents people from evading the licensing and background check requirements by claiming that they are just selling a few guns, according to the White House; and prevents people from falsely claiming that guns are part of a personal collection and exempt a seller from running a background check on a buyer.

By being more specific and precise in the definition, Administration officials on a call with reporters said it would require more people to register for a federal selling license and run a background check on the person they are selling to.

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

The final rule was signed off by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“It will also close the gun show loophole and it closes the fire sale loophole as well by clarifying how firearms dealers who go out of business or lose their license must go about liquidating their inventory,” Garland told reporters. “Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the internet, at a gun show or in a brick and mortar store, if you sell guns [you] must conduct background checks.”

There are over 80,000 licensed gun dealers in America. The Department of Justice estimates that there are over 20,000 unlicensed sellers who are selling firearms through online advertisements, gun shows and other means, according to the White House.

A senior administration official told ABC News they are confident the actions are legal and will stand up to potential challenges in court.

“Strong regulations like this one are not in conflict with the Second Amendment,” the senior official said.


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