“Engaged in the Business” Rule Does Not Close A “Gun Show Loophole” By: JP Pichardo

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Anti-gunners are praising the ATF for unveiling their latest infringement on the Second Amendment, the “Engaged in the Business” rule. The newest lie they are telling the American people is that ATF’s newest rule closes the so-called “gun show loophole.” But, as it turns out, this fake loophole doesn’t exist.

Anti-Gunners Claim the “Gun Show Loophole” Is Closed by ATF’s New Rule

President Biden claims to have closed the “gun show loophole” by “bringing this country as close as possible to universal background checks without additional legislation.” When the rule was finalized, President Biden once again stated gun purchases “whether you are dealing firearms at a gun show…you must obtain a license and run background check results.”[i] United States Attorney General Merrick Garland further states that “[i]t will also close the gun show loophole.”[ii]

Brady has also spewed many of the lies that our nation’s President and top lawyer have been saying. They falsely invent a way in which they claim a gun show loophole exists:

Anyone can visit a gun show or go online and simply buy a firearm from an unlicensed private seller, no questions asked and no background check required.[iii]

This assertion from Brady proves they have no clue on purchasing a firearm.

The Gun Show Loophole Does Not Exist

What the President, Attorney General, and the gun control lobby fail to mention is that the so-called “gun show loophole” never has existed. At a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Thomas Massie stated that “there is no gun show loophole.”[iv] ATF Director Dettelbach replied by saying “and there never was.” ATF’s rule also states:

The [Justice] Department also notes that the term ‘gun show loophole’ is a misnomer in that there is no statutory exemption under the GCA [Gun Control Act] for unlicensed persons to engage in the business of dealing in firearms at a gun show, or at any other venue.[v]

As it turns out, Americans who wish to purchase firearms commercially—whether it be at a gun show or physical store or even ordering online to be delivered to a physical store—must first fill out an ATF Form 4473 and the FBI must first complete a background check. Also, a recent firearms trafficking report published by ATF noted that “[f]ew investigations involved FFL traffickers and trafficking in firearms through gun shows.”[vi]

The Gun Seller Loophole Also Does Not Exist

Moms Demand Action executive director Angela Ferrell-Zabala also described the rule as: “Expanding background checks and closing the gun seller loophole…”[vii] But private firearm sales (without background checks) are legal for long guns in 42 states and for handguns in 32 states—even using data from the Giffords law center.[viii] There is no “gun seller” loophole to be closed, only lawful private firearm sales to be suppressed.

Despite claims from anti-gun advocates that this rule addresses a non-existed loophole, it illegally mandates universal background checks and more—a measure that Congress has never authorized and has consistently rejected. Therefore, Congress must overturn this power-grab by ATF which circumvents Congress to impose Universal Background Checks, a law that has never been passed.

[i] United States Department of Justice. DOJ Publishes New Rule to Update Definition of “Engaged in the Business” as a Firearms Dealer. April 11, 2024.

[ii] White House. Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Action to Implement Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Expanding Firearm Background Checks to Fight Gun Crime. April 11, 2024.

[iii] Brady. Brady Applauds Biggest Expansion of Background Checks on Gun Sales Since the Brady Bill. Brady United. April 11, 2024.

[iv] Gun Owners of America. Breaking! @ATFHQ Director Dettelbach ADMITS that there is not, and never was, a gun show loophole! Maybe one day they will admit there’s no such thing as an “assault” weapon either… X. May 23, 2024.

[v] Definition of “Engaged in the Business” as a Dealer in Firearms. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. April 19 2024. 89 FR 28989.

[vi] ATF Report on National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. April 4, 2024.

[vii] Everytown. Everytown, Moms Demand Action Applaud ATF for Finalizing Rule Cracking Down on Unlicensed Gun Dealers. Everytown. April 11, 2024.

[viii] Giffords Law Center. Universal Background Checks. Giffords Law Center.

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