Senate joint resolution would block ATF 'engaged in the business' rule

NSSF, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, fully supports the Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution of Disapproval of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “Engaged in the Business” Final Rule. The CRA was introduced and led by U.S. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and was co-sponsored by 43 additional senators.

The joint resolution would block the Biden administration from enforcing the Final Rule that forces private firearm sellers to obtain a federal firearms licensee (FFL), conduct FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS) verifications and maintain records in perpetuity, the same as a bona fide licensed firearm retailer. The Final Rule was forced through to institute near-universal background checks, legislation that Congress has expressly rejected because it would require a national firearm registry to work.

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“President Biden is using rulemaking by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to impose so-called ‘Universal Background Checks’ rejected by Congress. The rule is unconstitutional because it violates the Separation of Powers by usurping the role of Congress to say what the law is,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF’s Senior Vice President & General Counsel. “The rule ignores Congress’ requirements left unchanged by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) that a dealer is one who devotes time, attention and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms. All Congress changed was that the conduct need not be for purpose of earning a livelihood, just that it is predominantly to earn a profit. The Biden administration has repeatedly shown its willingness to run roughshod over the Constitution to attack the fundamental rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. NSSF is tremendously grateful for leadership of Senators John Cornyn and Thom Tillis to exert the will of Congress — the representative of ‘We, the People’ — to its proper role in the lawmaking process and protect of our rights.”

The massive expansion of persons considered to be “engaged in the business” is a reversal of a policy goal sought by gun control groups who complained during the Clinton administration that there were too many FFLs. This new policy brings further concerns that ATF resources will be misallocated to monitoring and requiring registration of up to 328,000 Americans it now deems to be “firearm dealers” even though they only make occasional firearm sales, exchanges or purchases for the enhancement of a personal collection or a hobby, or who sells all or part of a personal firearm collection.

There are also industry concerns that ATF will be unable to provide necessary customer service to the industry, including processing import permits, forms for making and transferring suppressors and classification determinations on new products. The firearm industry will go from zero tolerance to zero lawful, Constitutionally protected commerce — perhaps an ulterior motive behind the rule.

Those resources should be focused on criminals and disrupting illegal firearms trafficking rings instead of enforcing politically-motivated schemes to force a universal background check system.

Republished with permission from NSSF.

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