Biden Administration’s Rule Blocked by Federal Judge

( – President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law in 2022. The next year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) expanded the definition of who qualifies as a firearms dealer. A federal judge has now blocked that expansion.

On May 19, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued an order granting an injunction against the ATF to stop it from implementing the expanded background checks in Texas. His ruling also applies to members of several gun groups, including Gun Owners of America. The judge found Utah, Mississippi, and Louisiana didn’t have standing in the case.

The ATF rule requires everyone who sells firearms for profit to run a background check on buyers, even at gun shows. Plaintiffs argued the rule violated the 2022 gun control legislation. Kacsmaryk agreed with the plaintiffs, saying the rule would be unjustly applied to those who buy and sell guns for their “personal collection.” Further, he said the language intended to protect gun owners wasn’t effective.

Kacsmaryk said the “safe harbor provision provides no safe harbor at all for the majority of gun owners.”

There are two other suits challenging the expanded background checks. A total of 26 Republican attorneys general have sued to have it thrown out. Kacsmaryk’s ruling also comes as Republicans in the House and Senate are trying to reverse it.

On May 14, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a Congressional Review Act joint resolution of disapproval to overturn the ATF rule. At least 41 Senate Republicans are supporting the efforts. Meanwhile, House Republicans are on a similar mission.

Republicans worked in good faith with Democrats and the Biden Administration to pass the gun safety bill after several high-profile mass shootings, including one at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store that left 10 people dead. Supporters of the resolution argue the president expanded the law beyond what was intended when they passed the bipartisan bill.

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