NRA Sounds Alarm On New ATF Rule Targeting Gun Buyers And Sellers

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Dec 15, 2023 - 03:20 AM

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The National Rifle Association (NRA) sounded the alarm on a gun-control proposal from a federal regulatory agency that could "unjustly criminalize" Americans from selling a firearm.

A California-legal AR-15 style rifle with Thordsen stock is displayed for sale at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif., on June 5, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

In a statement Tuesday, the largest U.S. guns-rights group flagged that a rule proposed earlier this year by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive (ATF) known as ATF2022R-17, which proposed amending and broadening the definition of when a person is deemed to have been "engaged in the business" of being a firearms dealer other than a gunsmith or pawn-broker.

It would expand the definition of a firearms "dealer" to anyone who "sells or offers for sale firearms, and also represents to potential buyers or otherwise demonstrates a willingness and ability to purchase and sell additional firearms," according to the rule proposal. It would also include the definition would be broadened to include people who sell guns for services, property, or anything other than cash.

The proposal would create a "stand-alone definition of 'terrorism,'" and would "clarif[y] what it means for a person to be 'engaged in the business' of dealing in firearms, and to have the intent to 'predominantly earn a profit' from the sale or disposition of firearms," the rule's summary stated on the Federal Register. The public comment period on the rule ended last week.

An NRA official, Randy Kozuch, told Fox News Tuesday that the rule would be "just another attempt to demolish our Second Amendment rights, with the potential to unjustly criminalize everyday Americans for engaging in lawful firearm transactions."

"This rule blatantly disregards the recent NRA-backed Bruen ruling on the Second Amendment," Mr. Kozuch added. "It also creates serious confusion among lawful gun owners who buy and sell firearms legally for various purposes, from collecting to self-defense."

The NRA, in an earlier statement, said that the ATF doesn't have "the resources nor the intent of handling the massive increase in" Federal Firearms Licenses that the proposed rule "would result if its terms were adopted."

"Instead, the proposal is a transparent attempt to strong-arm Internet service providers, gun shows, technology platforms, and other facilitators to abandon any involvement in private gun sales with vague threats of 'administrative action' for non-compliance," the statement added. "Meanwhile, the cartels, gang members, firearm smugglers, and violent sociopaths Congress had in mind when passing the law that supposedly enables the proposal will be entirely unaffected."

"If the Biden administration were truly committed to combating crime, they would focus on enforcing existing laws and reform their soft-on-crime policies, targeting actual criminals instead of law-abiding American gun owners," Mr. Kozuch continued.

On Dec. 7, a coalition of Republican attorneys general led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen wrote a letter to the ATF, saying the rule is unconstitutional and violates the Second Amendment.

"The proposed rule is unconstitutional, violating the Second Amendment by making any individual who sells a firearm without a federal license liable to civil, administrative, or even criminal penalties," said a news release from Mr. Knudsen's office.

The ATF has not publicly commented on the NRA's recent critical statement. The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ), which oversees the ATF, for comment on Tuesday.

The ATF’s rule was proposed in August and was open to a comment period that lasted from Sept. 9 to Dec. 7. More than 350,000 people posted public comments on the website.

Some people claimed that the rule would spark confusion for gun owners, namely those who collect firearms and competitive shooters.

Notably, a number of comments that supported the proposed ATF rule appeared to be the same text that was copied and pasted, albeit with different names attached. The Epoch Times has reached out to the website, which is run by the U.S. General Services Administration, for comment on whether the repetitive comments will be accepted.

In June 2022, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was backed by gun-control groups after a mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, that left about two dozen people dead.

When he signed it into law, the president said that "while this bill doesn't do everything I want, it does include actions I've long called for that are going to save lives."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who backed the measure, said that the measure will also "save thousands of lives without violating anyone's Second Amendment rights." The NRA and similar groups, however, disputed that statement at the time.

The law was signed as the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 landmark decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, that said there is a constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense purposes. At the same time, they struck down a longstanding New York state law that restricted the concealed carrying of firearms.