Responding this week to the Biden administration’s proposed rule mandating more background checks to combat rising gun violence, the National Rifle Association said it was just another step in targeting “law-abiding gun owners.”
Last year, Biden signed the most significant gun control law in nearly 30 years, encouraging states to enact warning 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 that would require those selling firearms online or at gun shows to have a state license and conduct background checks on buyers before completing transactions must.
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The ruling came in response to President Biden’s order for Attorney General Merrick Garland to develop and implement a plan that would clarify who was in the firearms business and require them to obtain a state firearms license.
“This latest action by the Biden administration is another step in its campaign to target law-abiding gun owners,” said Randy Kozuch, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). “The passage of the bipartisan ‘Safer Communities’ Act is now an excuse to seek government approval before exercising a constitutional right.”
“It’s a stark reminder to lawmakers: give gun controllers any legislative tool, no matter how innocuous, and they will use it to destroy the Second Amendment,” he added. “The Biden administration will clearly use any means at its disposal to encroach on our liberties while doing nothing to stop the violent criminals responsible for America’s recent crime surge.”
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ATF Director Steve Dettelbach said last week that the number of people involved in the gun sales business who do not register as state gun licensees has increased, and accused those gun dealers of making money off illegal gun sales by selling illegal guns.
The Associated Press reported that the bureau estimated the rule would affect between 24,500 and 328,000 vendors and would target those who sell guns, not those with personal gun collections.
A recent AP-NORC poll conducted between August 10 and 14, 2023 found that nearly two-thirds of the public favor stricter gun laws, compared to just a third of Republicans.
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The poll also found that more than three-quarters of the 1,165 adults surveyed nationwide believe that preventing mass shootings and reducing gun violence is important, and most believe that limiting access to guns would lead to fewer mass shootings, homicides and violent crime.
The poll found that Republicans remain unconvinced that restricting access to guns would lead to fewer mass shootings and less violent crime.
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Gun rights groups like the NRA argue that the proposed rule would do little to stop gun violence. These same proponents have been quick to sue over other changes to the ATF rules that they say violate Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.