Gun Control Advocates Flood Comments Section In Support Of Proposed ATF Rule To Restrict Gun Sales

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Dec 01, 2023 - 02:40 AM

Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A rule to redefine what doing business as a gun dealer means—proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)—is supported by a majority of public commenters, with 10 days left in the comment period.

Cindy Sparr shows a customer an AK-47 style rifle at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store in Tinley Park, Ill., on Dec. 17, 2012. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On Nov. 27, more than 230,000 of the 280,098 comments supported the plan. This is an estimate based on a review by The Epoch Times.

A search of the comments section revealed that 237,172 comments include the opening sentence about loopholes in federal law from a sample email posted on the Everytown for Gun Safety webpage.

Everytown for Gun Safety (Everytown) did not respond to an email seeking comment for this report.

On its webpage, Everytown claims that “loopholes” in the law allow the sale of guns to criminals through online sales, private transactions, and gun shows.

“The regulation goes directly to the loopholes we have been trying to close for years by expanding background checks to guns offered for sale online or at gun shows, keeping weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, and ultimately saving lives,” the webpage reads.

But for ATF to finish the job on this life-saving action, it needs to know that the public supports closing these dangerous loopholes. ATF needs to hear from us.

Many of the online comments use language similar to the Everytown email, with some posting the sample message word-for-word.

This does not mean that all 237,172 support the rule. In at least one entry a commenter appears to support the rule but closes his comment with a vulgar expletive directed at the ATF.

Still, it appears clear that a majority of the commenters support the redefinition and the expansion of background checks.

One commenter who supported the redefinition claimed to have been involved in a school shooting in which the shooter’s parents reportedly purchased guns for him. The commenter also claimed the shooter stole guns from family members.

Second Amendment advocates point out that the issues raised by Everytown are already addressed by the law. They say the comment section shows an organized anti-gun campaign, combined with cynicism among gun owners.

“Frustrated citizens frequently disengage from the process of public comment periods for new and unconstitutional rules. They unfortunately feel like their voices aren't heard by ATF and that the Biden Administration won’t take these comments seriously,” Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America (GOA), wrote in an email to The Epoch Times.

According to gun rights activists, the proposed rule would virtually eliminate private gun sales.

Researcher Valerie Sargo simulates a check done for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICS, at the FBI’s criminal justice center in Bridgeport, W.Va., on Nov. 18, 2014. NICS did about 58,000 checks on a typical day in 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Stroud)

The ATF proposed the rule to bring gun regulations in line with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) passed by Congress in June 2022.

The BSCA, touted by gun control activists as “the most significant gun safety legislation in 30 years,” changed the definition of a gun dealer from a business that buys and sells firearms with the objective of “livelihood and profit” to anyone who sells a gun for profit.

This means that private individuals who sell a gun to a friend, neighbor, or family member would have to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and run a background check on the prospective buyer.

One Second Amendment advocate told a U.S. Senate Committee the ATF’s explanation of the new definition should raise concerns.

Amy Swearer, a senior legal fellow at the Ed Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies for the Heritage Foundation, said the new definition is a “slight wording change” while the ATF’s explanation is 108 pages long.

That should be a red flag immediately,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee during a Nov. 27 hearing on whether gun violence is a public health issue.

A Houston, Texas-based lawyer who specializes in the Second Amendment agreed with The Epoch Times’s assessment of the comments.

A salesman shows off weapons for sale at Coliseum Gun Traders Ltd. in Uniondale, N.Y. on Sept. 25, 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Richard Hayes of Walker & Taylor, PLLC, and host of the Armed Attorneys YouTube channel, it’s clear that gun control groups have organized to support the rule. This is not the first time a group has spoken out in the comments section, he says. But, in his experience, it’s been Second Amendment supporters who have been the most outspoken.

“It seems that the anti-gunners have taken a page from the Second Amendment playbook,” Mr. Hayes told The Epoch Times. “It appears that the gun grabbers have gotten wise to the importance of the public comments.”

Mr. Pratt said his organization is encouraging its members to make their voices heard before the public comment period ends on Dec. 7.

“We at GOA know that judges weighing challenges to agency actions like the Universal Registration Check Rule certainly look at and consider citizen comments,” Mr. Pratt wrote.

Once the comment period has ended, the ATF will consider the public comments before deciding whether to adopt the rule, modify it, or drop it.