Tightened Gun Regulations: Background Checks Now Mandatory for US Gun Shows and Online Purchases

Tightened Gun Regulations: Background Checks Now Mandatory for US Gun Shows and Online Purchases

As part of a “historic” new initiative to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, the Justice Department announced on Thursday that background checks will now be required for all gun sales in the US, including those made online and at gun shows.

The Biden administration has long sought to close the “gun show loophole,” which exempts private transactions from laws governing licensed dealers. This goal is particularly addressed in the rule that was just published in the federal register today.

Attorney General Merrick Garland informed reporters during a press conference announcing the regulation, “Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the internet, at a gun show, or at a brick-and-mortar store: if you sell guns predominantly to earn a profit, you must be licensed and you must conduct background checks.”

“This regulation is a historic step in the justice department’s fight against gun violence. It will save lives.”

The rule, which defines who is “engaged in the business” as a guns dealer, will go into effect in thirty days. It was the result of a three-month consultation session during which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, guns and Explosives (ATF) received almost 388,000 comments on its website.

According to White House estimates, 22% of American gun ownership was obtained without a background check, and around 23,000 additional people will need to obtain a dealer license once the rule goes into effect.

“There is a large and growing black market of guns being sold by people in the business of dealing and doing it without a license, and therefore they are not running background checks the way the law requires,” ATF director Steven Dettelbach stated.

“It’s not safe for innocent, law-abiding Americans. In fact, it’s doggone dangerous.”

The 2022 bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which said that anybody “who devote time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business to predominately earn a profit” would be considered a dealer, was softened by the regulation, according to Garland.

“The regulation expands the definition of who must obtain a license and conduct a background check before selling guns,” Garland stated.

“It will close the gun show loophole, and it closes the fire-sale loophole by clarifying how firearms dealers who go out of business must go about liquidating their inventory.”

According to a White House official, sales of firearms to expand a collection or transfers of firearms between families will not be regarded as presumptive commercial dealings.

The new regulation is the most recent in a string of executive actions the Biden administration has taken to strengthen gun control regulations, underscoring the challenge of passing legislation in Congress.

When Biden was vice president in 2016, Republicans were ambivalent about very identical ideas made by Barack Obama. Now that they control the majority in the House, they have been reluctant to support significant gun control measures ever since.

The current vice president, Kamala Harris, made an announcement last month about the creation of a national resource center to help states enact red flag laws while she was in Parkland, Florida, the scene of a high school shooting in 2018 that left 17 people dead.

Biden appointed Harris to head the nation’s first gun violence prevention office in September, and the two have since pushed Congress to enact stricter laws, such as prohibiting the private possession of assault rifles.