Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02) celebrated Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision Thursday to close a background check loophole in the sale of firearms. AG Garland will sign a notice of proposed rulemaking. This will amend the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulations to conform with The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s licensing requirements for gun sellers. Congresswoman Kelly led two Congressional letters, in December of 2022 and May of 2023. These urged expedient and transparent rulemaking for the “engaged in the business” definition provision of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
For decades, unlicensed gun sellers could sell high volumes of weapons online and at gun shows. However, they could do so without conducting background checks on each purchaser. This “background check loophole” has allowed unlicensed gun sellers to profit by funneling firearms into the wrong hands. Specifically, people convicted of felonies, domestic abusers, gun traffickers, and other prohibited persons could buy guns freely.
Rule Closes Background Check Loophole
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act addressed this loophole simply by changing a definition. Specifically, “engaged in the business” now includes any seller that “predominantly earns a profit” from the sale of firearms. These sellers must now register as a Federal Firearms Licensee and conduct background checks for every firearm sale.
Today’s notice of proposed rulemaking seeks to implement this new classification criteria by:
- Clarifying the definition of “dealer” and defining the terms “purchase” and “sale” as they apply to dealers;
- Clarifying when a person is not engaged in the business of dealing in firearms as an auctioneer. Likewise, when purchasing firearms and selling firearms from a personal collection;
- Setting forth conduct presumed to constitute “engaging in the business” of dealing in firearms. Namely, when a seller demonstrates the intent to “predominantly earn a profit” from the sale or disposition of firearms;
- Clarifying that the intent to “predominantly earn a profit” does not require the person to have received financial gain. One need not sell a single gun. The law would no longer require showing intent when a person purchases or sells a firearm for criminal or terrorism purposes;
- Adding a single definition for the term “personal collection, personal collection of firearms, or personal firearms collection.” Also, adding a definition for the term “responsible person”;
- Addressing how former licensees and responsible persons acting on behalf of former licensees may lawfully liquidate business inventory upon revocation or other termination of their license; and
- Clarifying that licensees must follow the verification and recordkeeping procedures. Specifically in 27 CFR 478.94 and Subpart H, rather than using an ATF Form 4473. This is when firearms transfer to other licensees. This would include transfers by a licensed sole proprietor to that person’s personal collection.
A Crucial Step
“Today’s announcement from the Department of Justice is a crucial step toward ensuring that all firearm sellers “predominately earning a profit” from sales, are properly licensed, and conduct the necessary criminal background checks to keep our communities safe,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “As co-chair of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, I am working closely with the Biden-Harris Administration to see that this crucial provision of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is implemented.”
The full notice is available HERE.
This is news from Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s office.