Biden Gun Rule Could Ban Private Sales Warns Insider

Empower Oversight, a watchdog group, is demanding transparency from the Biden administration regarding a potential regulation that could ban private gun sales. Whistleblowers have come forward, claiming that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is preparing to propose a rule that would require background checks for most or all gun sales.

President Biden has been a vocal advocate for stricter gun laws and previously proposed a regulation in August that aimed to clarify the registration requirements for individuals who repeatedly sell firearms. However, the revised rule being developed by the ATF is said to be even more expansive, according to Empower Oversight president Tristan Leavitt.

Leavitt asserts that the ATF, under the direction of the White House, has drafted a 1,300-page document to justify a rule that effectively bans private gun sales. The whistleblowers claim that Senior Policy Counsel Eric Epstein, who previously worked in the Phoenix Field Office’s Division Counsel during Operation Wide Receiver, is responsible for crafting this sweeping rule.

Empower Oversight believes that such a rule would violate the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms. In response to these allegations, the group has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department and ATF, seeking additional information and communications related to the alleged plan.

One of the concerns raised by the whistleblowers is that some sellers may face challenges in accessing the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or may be unaware of the requirement to do so, potentially exposing themselves to legal consequences. Federally licensed dealers must conduct background checks by entering buyer information into the NICS.

While the exact details of the pending proposal have not been released, it is unclear if there will be any exceptions, such as for family gun transfers. Any ATF regulation must go through a public notice and comment period before being finalized.

The ATF has already interpreted a bipartisan gun law enacted in 2022 following a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school to expand the definition of those who must register as federally licensed dealers. Previously, registration only applied to sellers whose principal objective was livelihood and profit.

It remains uncertain how the alleged pending ATF regulation would affect the current proposed rule that seeks to ratify the ATF’s interpretation of the bipartisan reform law—the public comment period for the proposed rule ended on December 8th, with over 370,000 contributions.