ATF Definition Change Escalates Fears of Universal Gun Registration

In a sweeping move that alarms many pro-gun advocates, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has finalized a rule change that significantly broadens the definition of who is considered a “dealer in firearms.” This change is poised to reshape the landscape of gun sales in the United States, effectively setting the stage for what many see as a backdoor to universal gun registration.

Under the new rule, the definition of a firearms dealer will expand to include individuals who sell guns “predominantly for profit,” capturing a large number of private gun sellers who may only occasionally sell firearms. This rule mandates that these sellers obtain a federal firearms license (FFL), conduct background checks on all buyers, and maintain records subject to ATF inspections.

The rule is part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to curb gun violence and was influenced by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) of 2022. This legislation, authored by Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, and endorsed by President Joe Biden, has been criticized for laying the groundwork for these expanded definitions and regulations.

Critics argue that the ATF’s redefinition of a firearms dealer is a gross overreach that infringes upon Second Amendment rights. They assert that this rule will ensnare most private firearm transactions under the guise of curbing gun violence, leading to what is effectively universal gun registration.

Chris McNutt, President of Texas Gun Rights (TXGR), has been a vocal opponent of the rule change. “If you give them an inch, they will take a mile,” McNutt stated, reflecting the frustration and distrust among gun rights advocates. TXGR has been actively opposing the rule change since its proposal, mobilizing thousands of members to submit comments during the rule’s open comment period. Despite this concerted effort, the ATF moved forward with the rule after the Biden White House issued a comprehensive 1,300-page directive instructing the ATF to broaden their rules to prohibit all private firearms sales, as revealed by a recent ATF whistleblower.

The final rule will take effect 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register, marking a significant shift in how firearms are sold across the country.

The rule change has also spurred legal action. TXGR, already involved in two lawsuits against the ATF with preliminary injunctions granted, is promising to take the ATF to court over this new rule change. These injunctions currently protect TXGR members from enforcement of other contested ATF regulations, underscoring the ongoing legal battles between gun rights organizations and federal regulators.

Senator Cornyn’s involvement in authoring the BSCA and his subsequent attempts to halt the ATF’s rule change have drawn criticism and skepticism. Many in the pro-gun community view these actions as insufficient and reactive, rather than preventative. This situation illustrates the complexities and challenges within the Republican Party’s approach to gun legislation, highlighting the tensions between compromising with legislative demands and adhering to a staunch defense of Second Amendment rights.

This unfolding situation underscores a broader national debate over gun control and gun rights. As the ATF prepares to implement this rule, the landscape of American gun ownership continues to evolve, shaped by legislative actions and the vigorous efforts of advocacy groups like Texas Gun Rights fighting to preserve the foundational liberties enshrined in the Second Amendment.

3 responses to “ATF Definition Change Escalates Fears of Universal Gun Registration”

  1. SteveB Avatar

    I do not agree with OBiden and his tactics! The ATF and other alphabet agencies have entirely too much power. The ATF is supposed to be a “law enforcement agency” and not a “law making agency”! Furthermore, I regret having voted for Cornyn in the past.

    1. JImmyinTEXAS Avatar

      SteveB, I too regret having voted for Cornyn. I have avowed, to never repeat such a grievous error.

  2. Deborah McCarter Avatar
    Deborah McCarter

    Stop all things biden regarding the 2 nd amendment rites & regulations we have as Americans according to The Constitution!

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