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Biden Administration Implements Regulation to Address ‘Gun Show Loophole’ in Effort to Tackle Gun Violence

On Thursday, the Biden administration made a major stride towards enforcing a rule that would require those selling guns at gun fairs and online to do background checks on prospective purchasers.

This final rule aims to stop what gun control advocates call the “gun show loophole” by making it harder to get a federal firearms license (FFL) and providing a clearer definition of what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling weapons. By clarifying this language, the Department of Justice hopes to improve market regulation and encourage more people to follow federal background check requirements.

“Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the internet, at a gun show, or a brick-and-mortar store: if you sell guns predominantly to earn a profit, you must be licensed, and you must conduct background checks,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said, emphasizing the regulation’s expansive reach.

Just days before the terrible Columbine High School shooting’s 25th anniversary, Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized the new rule’s timeliness by pointing out its completion. Harris voiced her optimism that the legislation will protect communities and families from the tragedy of gun violence. He highlighted the role of weapons purchased via the gun show loophole in many acts of violence across diverse areas.

The completed regulation, first proposed by the government last August, is scheduled to appear in the Federal Registry and will take effect in 30 days.

When it was adopted in 2022, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act expanded the definition of “engaging in firearms dealing” to include anyone who buys and sells weapons repeatedly, mainly for profit. Following this, President Joe Biden directed the Department of Justice to draft a regulation to handle this facet of gun purchases via an executive order.

As part of the new rule’s finalization, the Department of Justice revised the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives by clarifying the activities requiring a license under the newly expanded definition of engaging in firearms dealing.

By elaborating on what constitutes a “personal firearms collection,” the rule makes it easier for law-abiding individuals to keep their collections regulated. Furthermore, it specifies how FFL holders should manage their inventory if their firm goes out of business.

An official in the White House has said that little more than 20,000 people who sell weapons without a license would be affected by the new law.

However well-intentioned the regulation may have been, conservative legislators and gun rights activists, such as the NRA, have voiced their disapproval. 

The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action’s Executive Director, Randy Kozuch, spoke out against the policy, calling it an attack on the rights of legitimate gun owners, and vowed that the organization would do everything in its power to stop it. 

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