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Biden To End 'Gun Show Loophole,' Boost Background Checks

The Biden administration is moving to expand background checks for gun purchases, fulfilling a key demand of advocates after the deadly Uvalde, Tex., school shooting. The final rule, expected to be submitted Thursday to the Federal Register by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, would eliminate a loophole that has allowed sales of guns without background checks of guns outside of brick-and-mortar stores, Politico reports. The rule was issued under a provision of the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. It requires that anyone who sells guns for profit have a license and that buyers be subject to a background check, including at firearms shows and flea markets. Once publicized, it will take effect in 30 days. The so-called gun show loophole has for years allowed unlicensed gun dealers to sell firearms without background checks at gun shows, on the internet and out of their homes. The new rule, the most sweeping expansion of firearms background checks in decades, will apply to more than 20,000 individuals engaged in unlicensed gun dealing and affect “tens and tens of thousands of gun sales” each year, an administration official said.


“This single gap in our federal background check system has caused unimaginable pain and suffering,” Vice President Kamala Harris said. The vice president noted the 25th anniversary next week of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, which was carried out with weapons purchased through the gun-show loophole. She also pointed to the 2019 shooting in Midland and Odessa, Tex. where a man killed seven people and wounded dozens of others. A background check stopped the shooter from purchasing a gun at a sporting goods store in 2014, but he later purchased an AR-15 from an unlicensed seller he met online. After Congress passed the gun safety legislation in June 2022 after the Uvalde shooting, gun safety groups have pushed the White House to use it to expand background checks by clarifying which entities are considered “engaged in the business” of selling firearms. Doing so would not fulfill the president’s plea for universal background checks, as it would not apply to all sales, including private transfers. The rule’s publication still marks a step forward in the administration’s incremental efforts to regulate gun sales throughnthe Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

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