Gun groups slam Biden admin over new ATF rule: ‘Weaponizing every tool’

Gun Rights

Second Amendment advocates are slamming a new rule from the Biden administration that will require thousands of additional firearms dealers across the nation to run background checks on buyers at gun shows or other places outside brick-and-mortar stores. 

The rule aims to close a loophole that has allowed tens of thousands of guns to be sold every year by unlicensed dealers who do not perform background checks to ensure the potential buyer is not legally prohibited from having a firearm. 

The National Association for Gun Rights told Fox News Digital the new rule will “outlaw virtually all private sales of firearms between individuals.” 

“And as we saw in the Bryan Malinowski case in Little Rock, the ATF is willing to use outrageously excessive force – including murder – to punish violators,” the group’s president, Dudley Brown, said in a statement. “This rule brings us one step closer to Biden’s dream of Universal Gun Registration enforced by the ATF’s jackbooted thugs.” 

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Customers view guns in a Los Angeles gun shop

Customers view semi-automatic guns on display at a gun shop in Los Angeles, California December 19, 2012. (REUTERS/Gene Blevins/File Photo)

The Second Amendment Institute told Fox News Digital the ATF’s new rule is “another example of them going beyond their statutory authority for political purposes. 

“It infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens and adds unnecessary burdens to those seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” the organization said. 

The Gun Owners of America’s Director of Federal Affairs Aidan Johnston accused the Biden administration of “weaponizing every tool in their tool box to intimidate, harass, and criminalize gun owners with unlawful executive actions.”

“This Backdoor Universal Registration Check rule is nothing more than a move to criminalize the sale of a single gun without a background check. By doing so, the government hopes to ensure that they are fully involved in every firearm transfer, and eventually the records of all those transfers will end up in their records database, which we have confirmed the existence of through FOIA requests, leaks, and congressional inquiry,” Johnston said in a statement to Fox News Digital. 

Several firearms

FILE: Assault-style rifles now banned for sale in the state are displayed at Freddie Bear Sports on January 11, 2023 in Tinley Park, Illinois.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb called the new rule “a continuation of the Biden war on guns.” 

“It is another attempt to get around Congress to make new laws without congressional approval,” he said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “The president is claiming this will keep guns out of the hands of felons, and he knows better. If history has taught us anything, it would be that criminals do not obtain the guns they use through legitimate channels, and that gun control laws have never prevented criminals from obtaining a firearm.” 

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Gottlieb argued that the new rule will only “place yet another burden on honest citizens wanting to exercise their second amendment.” 

The National Rifle Association said in a statement that it is “already working to use all means available to stop this unlawful rule.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group, also has warned of a court challenge if the rule was finalized as written. 

Rifles on display

FILE PHOTO: AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale at a gun store.  (REUTERS/Bing Guan)

Lawrence Keane, the foundation’s senior vice president and general counsel, said Thursday that the organization was reviewing the regulation after contending previously that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was overstepping its legal authority.

The new rule marks the Biden administration’s latest effort to combat gun violence. President Biden has said the measure will “keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons.” 

“And my administration is going to continue to do everything we possibly can to save lives. Congress needs to finish the job and pass universal background checks legislation now,” he said. 

The rule, which was finalized this week, makes clear that anyone who sells firearms predominantly to earn a profit must be federally licensed and conduct background checks, regardless of whether they are selling on the internet, at a gun show or at a brick-and-mortar store, Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters.

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Biden administration officials said they are confident the rule, which drew more than 380,000 public comments, would withstand anticipated lawsuits from gun rights groups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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