Justice Department Publishes New Rule to Update Definition of ‘Engaged in the Business’ as a Firearms Dealer

On Thursday, Biden’s Justice Department unveiled the “Engaged in the Business” Final Rule, marking its official implementation.

This rule aims to redefine the parameters of being involved in firearm sales as a business endeavor. It expands the requirement for obtaining a federal firearms license to individuals who sell guns at shows and online to make a profit.

This broadening of background checks represents another instance of government overreach by the Biden administration, infringing Second Amendment rights.

The Final Rule targets the closure of the “gun show loophole,” aiming to enforce federal background check requirements on all gun dealers, irrespective of where they conduct firearm sales.

Firearms Policy Coalition wrote, “There’s no such thing as a ‘gun-show loophole,’ and despite everything wrong with this despotic overreach, ATF even makes this clear when answering the public comments of ‘supporters.’ Your intentionally deceitful commentary mirrors that of history’s most vile government actors.”

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland asserted that making a profit from gun sales, regardless of the location, requires licensure and background checks.

“Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the internet, at a gun show, or at a brick-and-mortar store: if you sell guns predominantly to earn a profit, you must be licensed, and you must conduct background checks,” Garland said. “This regulation is a historic step in the Justice Department’s fight against gun violence. It will save lives.”

In June 2022, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) expanded the definition of individuals involved in the firearms trade, a change endorsed by Biden’s Executive Order 14092. This marked the first significant federal gun control legislation passed in nearly three decades.

“Our Administration is taking historic action to reduce the number of firearms sold without background checks. This will help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons. Now, Congress needs to do its part and pass universal background checks,” the White House said in a statement.

While allegedly aimed at improving public safety, the Final Rule imposes burdensome constraints on law-abiding gun owners and dealers, potentially leading to the criminalization of ordinary citizens who occasionally engage in firearm sales.

Licensed dealers must maintain records of sales transactions. Additionally, the regulation seeks to crack down on unlicensed dealing, which the administration sees as a major loophole undermining public safety initiatives.

This action aims to tighten control over gun ownership and trading, place excessive burdens on small sellers, and encroach upon constitutional rights.

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The rule has the potential to make everyday Americans who sell firearms without a federal license subject to criminal charges, even if their sales are occasional or on a small scale. Furthermore, there are worries that this regulation could impact genuine hobbyists and collectors, who might now worry about facing prosecution for what they see as lawful activities.

This is a regulatory rule, not a law passed by Congress. It’s probable that it will be contested and overturned in the courts.

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By Hunter Fielding
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