Biden Admin Pushing Back on Firearm Sales Without Background Checks

Biden Admin Pushing Back on Firearm Sales Without Background Checks

( – The Biden administration is attempting to close a longstanding loophole allowing gun dealers who operate online, at flea markets, or at gun shows to bypass regulatory procedures mandatory for brick-and-mortar stores. A final rule submitted on April 11 forces over 23,000 unlicensed sellers to start running background checks on buyers before closing a sale.

According to a White House fact sheet, individuals who sell firearms on a regular basis must now obtain a federal firearms license and conduct background checks on buyers, regardless of whether they are selling in person or at gun shows, over the internet, and at flea markets. Until recently, small-volume dealers who claimed to be selling from their own personal collection at these locations were exempt from these guidelines.

The updated Bipartisan Safer Communities Act ( BSCA) addresses this loophole by redefining the term “firearms dealer.” The new, broader definition significantly expands the number of people who qualify for that designation, meaning that a much larger group of individuals must now obtain a mandatory federal firearms license before they can legally sell guns to the public.

Proponents of the regulatory changes, including the Biden administration, argue that measures like these help to increase public safety by getting guns off the streets. According to the same fact sheet, statistics from an Office of Public Affairs report identify unlicensed dealers as the largest source of illegally trafficked firearms in the United States.

A recent review of cases from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) appears to reflect similar findings. The ATF alleges that unlicensed dealers sold at least 54% of all illegally trafficked firearms (68,000 guns in total), many of which were later linked to or used in criminal activities

Critics argue that these numbers are overinflated or, at the very least, broadly misinterpreted. They warn that the updated BSCA will only serve to punish small-volume collectors and sellers by forcing them to meet unrealistic demands.

Two of the Republican senators responsible for drafting the original BSCA in 2022 are already speaking out against this change. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are leveraging the Congressional Review Act to issue a joint resolution of disapproval in an attempt to overturn the adjustment. However, President Biden could veto that motion.

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