Justice Department Advances Rule to Close Gun Show Loophole by Requiring Background Checks

File photo of guns, via ATF

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department finalized a new rule that would close the so-called “gun show loophole” by requiring anyone who sells firearms to run federal background checks. 

Under the new rule, people who sell firearms at gun shows, flea markets, or over the internet would be required to become licensed by the ATF and therefore have to obtain a firearms license, the Associated Press reports

“This is going to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons,” President Biden said in a statement. “And my Administration is going to continue to do everything we possibly can to save lives. Congress needs to finish the job and pass universal background checks legislation now.”

The rule, first proposed in August, will take effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. 

The announcement comes a week after the ATF revealed that unlicensed firearms dealers were responsible for more than 68,000 illegally trafficked firearms in the U.S. over the span of five years. In total, 54% of the illegally trafficked firearms in the U.S. between 2017 and 2021 came through unlicensed dealers, who aren’t required to perform background checks.

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