Biden admin's proposed rule to combat gun violence would require firearms dealers to conduct background checks

20:31 03.09.2023

In response to the Biden administration's proposed rule requiring more background checks to combat rising gun violence, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has criticized the move as an attack on "law-abiding gun owners." The proposed rule, developed as part of President Biden's executive order to Attorney General Merrick Garland, aims to clarify the definition of who is engaged in the business of dealing firearms and requires those who sell firearms online or at gun shows to be federally licensed and conduct background checks on buyers before completing transactions.

The NRA-ILA Executive Director, Randy Kozuch, stated that the proposed rule is a "stark reminder to legislators: give gun controllers any legislative tool, no matter how benign, and they'll use it to shred the Second Amendment." He further accused the Biden administration of using all available tools to interfere with citizens' freedoms while failing to address the root causes of the recent surge in crime.

ATF Director Steve Dettelbach supported the proposed rule, highlighting the increasing number of individuals engaging in firearm sales without registering as federal firearms licensees. These sellers are accused of engaging in off-book, illicit firearms sales, which not only violate the law but also endanger public safety. The ATF estimates that the proposed rule would impact between 24,500 and 328,000 sellers, specifically targeting those in the business of selling guns rather than individuals with personal gun collections.

A recent AP-NORC poll conducted in August 2023 found that nearly two-thirds of the public support stricter gun laws, while only a third of Republicans share this sentiment. The survey also revealed that more than three-quarters of the respondents view preventing mass shootings and reducing gun violence as important. Additionally, a majority of participants believe that restricting gun access could lead to fewer mass shootings, murders, and overall violent crime.

Opponents of the proposed rule, including gun rights groups like the NRA, argue that it would do little to stop gun violence. They have previously filed lawsuits against other ATF rule changes that they believe infringe on Americans' Second Amendment rights.

The proposed rule, if approved, would not only require background checks for all firearms transactions but also mandate that firearms dealers obtain a federal license to sell guns. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which aims to prevent mass shootings, received a 234-193 vote in the House, with 14 Republicans voting in favor. ATF Director Dettelbach stated that the proposed rule aligns with the Congress's mandate to expand the definition of who must obtain a license and conduct background checks before selling firearms.

The urgency to address rising gun violence resonates as data from an AP and USA Today database maintained with Northeastern University reveals that there have been at least 33 mass killings since the beginning of 2023, resulting in the deaths of at least 163 individuals. This figure does not include shooters who died during the incidents. The recent case of a White man in Jacksonville, Florida, targeting and killing three Black individuals highlights the urgency for stricter gun control measures to prevent such tragedies. Despite being involuntarily committed for a mental health exam, the shooter was able to legally purchase firearms.

The proposed rule is now open for public comment for 90 days and can be accessed on the ATF website. It remains to be seen how the public and lawmakers will engage in the debate surrounding the rule and its potential impact on reducing gun violence in the United States.

/ Sunday, September 3, 2023, 8:31 PM /

themes:  Shooting  Florida

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