If you’re a gun owner who has ever thought about selling a firearm to a friend or family member, be prepared for some regulatory roadblocks. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) seems poised to put a damper on private gun sales.
In a move that may impact countless law-abiding gun owners, the ATF is purportedly gearing up to implement a rule that would curtail gun owners from selling firearms at a profit without securing a Federal Firearms License (FFL). This comes as part of an initiative set for 2024 under the Biden administration, circumventing the traditional legislative process in Congress.
The lever behind this move? The already established Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This piece of gun control legislation, which some Republicans even backed despite reservations from staunch Second Amendment advocates, is being used as the foundation for clamping down on private gun transactions.
In the past, you needed an FFL only if your primary income was from trading firearms. The reimagining of this law now identifies those who sell guns “to predominantly earn a profit” as “gun sellers.” By this new metric, many casual sales could be swept up in a net intended for larger fish, channeling most gun sales to the limited pool of FFL licensees. The implications are far-reaching: This could mean heightened prices for potential buyers and limited accessibility.
Consider the thriving online marketplace where firearms exchange hands. The new rule seems poised to curtail sales, with gun owners potentially penalized for selling a firearm at a price higher than its purchase value. The layman gun owner, perhaps unfamiliar with this nuanced shift in the legal landscape, may inadvertently face criminal charges post this rule’s enactment.
As the Department of Justice and ATF collaborate on finalizing this directive, its projected rollout is slated for late 2024. Notably, during his campaign, President Joe Biden expressed criticism of online firearm trading, aiming to prohibit it. However, he originally envisioned achieving this through legislative processes rather than directing federal agencies to rework the interpretation of existing laws.
Given the potential impact on individual rights and the marketplace, it wouldn’t be surprising to witness legal counteractions to such administrative endeavors. Let’s not forget the recent instance where the ATF’s attempt to regulate pistol braces was rebuffed by a federal court.
It’s a waiting game now, with everyday gun owners and enthusiasts on the front lines, safeguarding the principles of the Second Amendment against overreaching federal mandates.