As the Biden administration reiterates calls for tougher gun measures in response to the mass shooting in Maine last week, House Republicans updated a fiscal 2024 spending bill with provisions that take the opposite track. House Republicans are looking to use the appropriations process to block a proposed rule to implement a provision in the first bipartisan anti-gun violence package passed in years. That gun package widened the definition of engaging in the business of firearm dealing. he law was enacted in the aftermath of a shooter killing 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and another shooter killing 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y. A proposed rule from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would clarify the circumstances in which a seller would be required to obtain a federal firearm license and run background checks.
The latest version of the House fiscal 2024 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill adds a provision that would prohibit federal funds from being spent to enforce that rule, along with at least two other provisions that would roll back ATF enforcement against firearms dealers, reports Roll Call. President Biden signed an executive order in March that directed Attorney General Merrick Garland to issue the rule. Senior officials at that time said the president sought to “clarify” when the law considers someone a gun dealer and must register with the federal government, in a way that will bring the U.S. closer to universal background checks. Biden will visit Lewiston, Me., Friday, where a shooting spree killed 18 people last week. In response to the shooting, Biden has reiterated his calls for Congress to pass gun control legislation and said he would use administrative action to curtail gun violence. In his first interview, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) told Fox News “the problem is the human heart. It’s not guns. It’s not the weapons.” Johnson said it was not the time to consider additional legislation and his party was united around protecting Second Amendment rights.