New Rule Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'

It means more sellers will have to conduct background checks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2024 8:32 AM CDT
New Rule Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'
File photo.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

Thousands more firearms dealers across the US will have to run background checks on buyers when selling at gun shows or other places outside brick-and-mortar stores, according to a Biden administration rule that will soon go into effect. The rule aims to close what is known as the "gun show loophole," which has allowed tens of thousands of guns to be sold every year by unlicensed dealers who don't perform such checks, per the AP and the Washington Post. The rule, which was finalized this week, makes clear that anyone who sells firearms predominantly to earn a profit must be federally licensed and conduct background checks, regardless of whether they are selling on the internet, at a gun show, or at a brick-and-mortar store.

The rule will take effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. There are already roughly 80,000 federally licensed firearms dealers. Administration officials believe the new rule will impact more than 20,000 dealers who have gotten away with selling firearms without a license and performing background checks at places like gun shows and over the internet by claiming they aren't "engaged in the business" of firearm sales.

"This final rule does not infringe on anyone's Second Amendment rights, and it will not negatively impact the many law-abiding licensed firearms dealers in our nation," ATF Director Steve Dettelbach said. "They are already playing by the rules." But the rule is likely to be challenged in court by gun rights activists, who have previously sued over other ATF rule changes that they argue infringe on gun rights. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group, previously warned of a court challenge if the rule was finalized as written.

(More gun laws stories.)

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