NRA says Biden admin’s proposal for more firearms background checks is an attack on law-abiding gun owners

Gun Rights

The National Rifle Association responded this week to the Biden administration’s proposed rule requiring more background checks to combat rising gun violence, saying it was just another step to attack “law-abiding gun owners.”

Last year, Biden signed the most significant gun control bill in nearly 30 years, which incentivized states to pass red flag laws and expand background checks for 18- to 21-year-olds.

But last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) proposed a rule requiring those who sell firearms online or at gun shows to be federally licensed and to run background checks on buyers before completing transactions.

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A photo showing AR-15s on display at a gun show

AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

The rule came in response to President Biden’s executive order to Attorney General Merrick Garland to develop and implement a plan clarifying the definition of who is engaged in the business of dealing firearms, requiring them to obtain a federal firearms license.

“This latest action by the Biden administration is yet another step in their campaign to attack law-abiding gun owners,” NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) Executive Director Randy Kozuch said. “The Bipartisan ‘Safer Communities’ Act’s passage is now a pretext to require government permission before exercising a constitutional right.”

“It’s 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 added. “The Biden Administration will clearly use all the tools at their disposal to interfere with our freedoms while doing nothing to stop the violent criminals responsible for America’s recent crime surge.”

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NRA headquarters

A thin blue line flag, signaling support for law enforcement, is displayed above the sign for the National Rifle Association (NRA) outside of its headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 31, 2022. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images))

ATF Director Steve Dettelbach said last week that the number of people engaging in the firearms sales business and not registering as federal firearms licensees has increased, accusing these sellers of making money off the books, with illicit firearms sales.

The Associated Press reported that the bureau estimates the rule would affect between 24,500 and 328,000 sellers and targets those in the business of selling guns, not with personal gun collections.

A recent AP-NORC poll conducted between Aug. 10-14, 2023, found that nearly two-thirds of the public is in favor of stricter gun laws, compared to just a third of Republicans.

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Biden and ATF Steve Dettelbach

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 11: U.S. President Joe Bidens nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Steve Dettelbach speaks during an event about gun violence in the Rose Garden of the White House April 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden announced a new firearm regulation aimed at reining in ghost guns, untraceable, unregulated weapons made from kids. Biden also announced Steve Dettelbach as his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The survey also found more than three-quarters of the 1,165 adults polled nationwide think preventing mass shootings and reducing gun violence is important, and most believe restricting gun access would result in fewer mass shootings, murders and violent crime.

Republicans remain unconvinced that restricting gun access would result in fewer mass shootings and less violent crime, the poll found.

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Gun rights groups like the NRA have argued the proposed rule would do little to stop gun violence. The same advocates have quickly sued over other ATF rule changes that they argue infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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