Biden administration proposes rule that would require more firearms dealers to run background checks

by Sophia Chen
Firearm Dealer Background Checks

The Biden administration has put forth a proposal aimed at increasing the number of firearms dealers required to conduct background checks, with the intention of addressing the escalating issue of gun violence across the nation. This initiative follows President Joe Biden’s directive to identify strategies for bolstering background checks, subsequent to the enactment of bipartisan gun-related legislation last year.

Under the proposition introduced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, individuals engaged in selling firearms through online platforms, gun shows, or other non-brick-and-mortar venues would be mandated to obtain licenses and perform background checks on prospective buyers prior to completing sales transactions.

However, the firearm industry trade group has promptly voiced concerns about the proposal, suggesting that it could potentially face legal opposition if it were to be finalized in its present form.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives approximates that the rule could impact a range of sellers varying from 24,500 to 328,000. Its scope targets those actively involved in the business of selling firearms, rather than individuals with personal collections.

Steve Dettelbach, the agency’s director, emphasized that background checks play a crucial role in preventing firearms from being sold to individuals with criminal records, minors, and others who are legally prohibited from owning firearms. Licensed firearm dealers at the federal level are additionally obligated to maintain records and sell firearms with identifiable serial numbers, which aids law enforcement agencies in tracing weapons used in criminal activities.

Dettelbach stated, “Unlicensed dealers circumvent the requirement of background checks, record-keeping, and other essential public safety measures adhered to by the federally licensed firearm dealer community.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland pointed out that Congress enacted the gun legislation with the intention of reducing gun violence, which includes an expansion of background checks, and the newly proposed rule serves to implement that directive.

Notably, a recent AP-NORC poll on gun-related issues revealed that a majority of Americans desire stricter gun laws, particularly when it comes to background checks. This sentiment persists regardless of the prevailing gun regulations within their respective states. The preference for enhanced background checks could be tied to certain individuals’ perception of the potential reduction in mass shootings associated with fewer firearms.

Thus far in 2023, there have been at least 33 mass killings in the United States, resulting in the deaths of at least 163 individuals (excluding the perpetrators). These statistics are based on data compiled by the AP and USA Today in collaboration with Northeastern University.

Over the weekend, a distressing incident unfolded in Jacksonville, Florida, wherein a white man, donning a mask and wielding a weapon marked with a swastika, fatally shot three Black individuals before taking his own life. Disturbingly, despite having been involuntarily committed for a mental health evaluation in the past, the shooter managed to legally acquire the weapons he used.

The gun control legislation passed by Congress in the preceding year represented the most comprehensive overhaul of gun control regulations in three decades. It was prompted by a tragic mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The 2022 law brought about stricter background checks for young firearm purchasers, aimed to prevent firearms from being obtained by individuals with domestic violence histories, and facilitated the implementation of red flag laws at the state level, which are designed to enable the confiscation of weapons from individuals deemed to pose a threat.

President Biden has voiced his belief that the legislation does not go far enough in addressing gun violence. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre underscored the administration’s commitment to advocating for more comprehensive gun control measures, highlighting the urgent need to combat the pervasive issue of gun violence that is devastating families, communities, and the nation.

The Giffords Center to Prevent Gun Violence has welcomed the proposed alteration to the rule, lauding it for closing a “significant loophole.” Peter Ambler, the Executive Director of the center, commended the Biden administration’s substantial stride toward achieving the goal of universal background checks.

Conversely, Kris Brown, the president of the gun control advocacy group Brady, has noted that more than one in five gun sales in the U.S. are conducted without undergoing a background check.

Gun rights organizations, however, contend that the proposed rule would have limited impact on mitigating gun violence. These proponents have a history of swiftly challenging ATF rule changes that they perceive as encroachments on gun rights.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group representing the firearms industry, has expressed “significant concerns” about the proposed rule. They argue that it seems to exceed the scope permitted by the bipartisan legislation and could potentially compel ordinary citizens to become licensed dealers. The group has warned that a legal challenge might arise if the rule is ultimately adopted in its current form.

The proposed rule will remain open for public commentary for a period of 90 days. The timeline for its finalization has yet to be clarified.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Firearm Dealer Background Checks

What is the main focus of the Biden administration’s proposal regarding firearms?

The Biden administration’s proposal aims to expand background checks for firearms dealers to address the growing issue of gun violence across the United States.

Why is this proposal being introduced?

The proposal is a response to President Joe Biden’s call for measures to strengthen background checks after the passage of bipartisan gun legislation the previous year.

Who would be required to run background checks under this proposed rule?

Individuals selling firearms online, at gun shows, or other non-brick-and-mortar locations would be mandated to obtain licenses and conduct background checks on buyers before completing sales.

What concerns have been raised about the proposal?

A firearm-industry trade group has expressed concerns about the proposal, suggesting it could potentially face legal challenges if finalized as currently drafted.

How many sellers could be affected by this rule?

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that the rule could impact anywhere from 24,500 to 328,000 sellers who are engaged in the business of gun sales.

How do background checks contribute to public safety?

Background checks help prevent firearms from being sold to individuals with criminal records, minors, and others legally barred from owning firearms, contributing to public safety and crime prevention.

How does this proposal tie into recent gun violence statistics?

Recent statistics indicate that there have been at least 33 mass killings in the United States in 2023, leading to the deaths of 163 individuals (excluding perpetrators). The proposed rule aims to address this pressing issue.

What changes were brought about by the gun legislation passed in the previous year?

The 2022 gun legislation implemented stricter background checks for young firearm buyers, sought to prevent firearms from reaching domestic violence offenders, and facilitated the adoption of red flag laws at the state level.

What are the reactions of gun control advocates and opponents to the proposed rule?

Gun control groups, such as the Giffords Center to Prevent Gun Violence, have applauded the proposed rule for closing loopholes. However, gun rights organizations have expressed concerns and are prepared to challenge the rule’s potential infringements on gun rights.

What is the timeline for the proposed rule’s implementation?

The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 90 days. The specific timeline for its finalization has not yet been determined.

More about Firearm Dealer Background Checks

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CryptoNerd September 1, 2023 - 5:29 am

biden makin’ moves not just in politics but gun stuff too? wonder what this means for the crypto market indirectly.

FinanceGeek September 1, 2023 - 5:49 am

these checks might be a good step to curb violence. but will it really solve the root causes of the problem?

AlexWriter September 1, 2023 - 7:26 am

wow, this biden thing sounds like a good plan to stop guns gettin’ in wrong hands. hope they make it work!

SafetyAdvocate September 1, 2023 - 8:45 am

background checks could save lives, but there’s a long road ahead. hope this makes a dent in the gun violence crisis.

PoliticEnthusiast September 1, 2023 - 11:47 am

so the prez wants more checks on gun sells, huh? wonder how folks ’round here gonna react to that.

NewsJunkie47 September 1, 2023 - 12:35 pm

finally some real action on gun control! background checks seem logical, but will they truly make an impact?

GunsRightsNow September 1, 2023 - 6:48 pm

not sure ’bout all these rules. they might just make things complicated for responsible gun owners.

CarManiac September 1, 2023 - 8:40 pm

ain’t this a bit off-topic for a car enthusiast like me? anyway, less guns could mean safer streets, i guess.


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