By: José Niño
Earlier this month, Joe Biden and the Department of Justice unveiled a proposed rule that would change which individuals must obtain a federal firearms license (FFL) to sell guns.
This proposed rule change would do away with the “gun show loophole” and the “internet loophole,” a move which received massive praise from civilian disarmament organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, and Brady United.
For anti-gun organizations such a move would put the US closer to implementing a universal background check system — one of the Biden regime’s main anti-gun goals.
The proposed rule builds off the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) boosted. John Crump of AmmoLand noted that the “BSCA changed the law’s wording to describe who the federal government considers a gun dealer.”
In effect, the BSCA changed the definition of an individual “engaged in the business” of selling firearms from “with the principal objective of livelihood and profit” to a more ambiguous definition of “to predominantly earn a profit.” Currently, the Biden regime is taking advantage of that change via the proposed rule modification. The change reads as follows:
“(22) The term `to predominantly earn a profit’ means that the intent underlying the sale or disposition of firearms is predominantly one of obtaining pecuniary gain, as opposed to other intents, such as improving or liquidating a personal firearms collection: Provided, that proof of profit shall not be required as to a person who engages in the regular and repetitive purchase and disposition of firearms for criminal purposes or terrorism.”
On top of that, the new rule will impact vendors who sell multiples of the same kind of guns. In simple terms, any individual who liquidates a set of Glock pistols must obtain an FFL prior to liquidating the firearms. Countless Americans collect several kinds of firearms, and this rule change would bar the legal transfer of those firearms without an FFL.
Under the new proposed rule, unlicensed vendors who sell firearms via “online auctions” would have to acquire an FFL. This section specifically singles out websites such as Armslist.
These websites technically don’t sell guns and don’t have to acquire an FFL for now. The new rule appears to change this category. The rule dealing with online sales reads as follows:
“In addition, it clarifies the term ‘dealer,’ including how that term applies to auctioneers, and defines the term ‘responsible person.’ These proposed changes would assist persons in understanding when they are required to have a license to deal in firearms.”
“These examples are provided to clarify for unlicensed persons that firearms dealing requires a license in whatever place or through whatever medium the firearms are purchased and sold, including the Internet and locations other than a traditional brick and mortar store,” the rule added.
“To better estimate both online and offline sales, ATF assumed, based on best professional judgment of FIPB SMEs and with limited available information, that the national online marketplace estimate above may represent 25 percent of the total national firearms market, which would also include in-person, local, or other offline transactions like flea markets, State-wide exchanges, or websites within each of the 50 States.”
In essence, this rule would make any individual who rents a table at a firearm show be considered a seller of firearms, thereby making private citizens incapable of selling their firearms at any gun show. On top of that, if an individual advertises their guns for sale, they could be treated as someone in the business of selling firearms, a change that could result in the end of the majority of private firearm sales.
Dudley Brown, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights, commented on this new FFL rule:
“Biden is using his Executive Order to unleash his ATF goons to prosecute anyone who even THINKS about selling a gun without government permission. Violators of any of the countless hoops will be thrown in prison and slapped with a quarter million dollar fine. NAGR is calling on 2A supporters nationwide to flood the ATF’s comment portal with messages opposing this blatantly unconstitutional rule.”
By forcing more people to obtain FFLs, a significant number of Americans will be prevented from selling firearms. This will negatively impact Americans of humbler economic status who heavily rely on private sales to acquire firearms for self-defense.
Under the Biden regime, FFL revocations have hovered in the range of 350% to 500%. The red tape the ATF is placing is designed to shut down as many FFLs as possible, while also placing a costly barrier of entry for potential vendors.
The over-arching effect here is to deprive prospective gun owners of places to buy firearms from. Again, it cannot be stressed enough: The ATF must be defanged and ultimately abolished if we want our gun rights fully restored.