The Biden Administration, after suffering a string of judicial defeats on gun control, is now attempting to expand the definition of who can have a Federal License to deal in firearms.
After repeated judicial defeats on bump stocks, frames, receivers, and braces, the Administration has decided to throw great uncertainty over who must be licensed to transfer a firearm.
As The Reload, an online magazine devoted to firearms law has stated:
“The new proposal is the latest in a series of moves President Biden has undertaken to try and further tighten American Gun regulations. With his legislative agenda on firearms hamstrung by a lack of support in Congress, he has instead attempted to unilaterally enforce new restrictions through federal rulemaking. However, his previous attempts to reclassify or ban parts kits for homemade guns and pistol-braced AR-15s, have been found unconstitutional by multiple federal courts.”
Under the new proposed ruling, anyone who sells a gun without said license could face a fine of $250,000, five years in Federal prison, or both.
At the behest of gun control lobbyists, this is just another attempt on the part of the Biden Administration to force “universal background checks” and close what they consider to be loopholes in the law. It is not clear that it would stop criminals who already violate firearms laws, but it potentially could ensnare people who rent a table at a gun show, transfer firearms to friends, neighbors, or relatives, or deal with guns on an occasional basis just to enhance their collections or to make a bit of money on the side.
Clearly, the intent is to expand the number of people who must be licensed and thus subject to ATF rules. Or, why else would this be proposed?
Those in the firearms industry are critical of the complexity of the 108-page set of regulations and the flexibility it gives the ATF to prosecute those it feels violate the laws that they just made up without any Congressional approval. Lost on these advocates is that it is precisely in those cities with the strictest gun control rules we have seen the most increase in gun-related murders and crime.
The intent seems to be to expand the definition of those who must obtain a license yet it also appears to stop short of requiring everyone who might sell a used gun to be licensed.
Critics say it is too loosely written, which allows the government to intimidate through vagueness the secondary trade in guns and does not make clear if collectors using an FFL (one with a Federal license) are violating the law or not. From the standpoint of the public, clearly written rules help avoid getting entangled with the authorities while vaguely written rules allow agencies wide discretion.
Senator Joni Ernst for example has said, “President Biden is twisting the law to fit his liberal gun-grabbing agenda.”
As legal scholars wade through the 108 pages and challenges reach the courts, more clarity is likely.
Already though, observers have noticed that the list of reasons for firearms ownership listed by the ATF includes hobby and sporting reasons, but it does not mention the most often cited reasons for firearms ownership, which is the need for self-defense. Also absent from their definition of need, is the need for firearms to resist a tyrannical government.
Above all, the immediacy of this ruling is the clear pattern of this Administration:
Weakened laws for bail, prosecution, and incarceration of criminals, while increasing the regulation of the means the public has to protect themselves from the predators set loose on them by the government that is supposed to protect them.
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.