Washington Gun Law

ATF Proposes New Rule on Private Sales and Gun Shows, Threatening Second Amendment Rights

Video Highlights

  • ATF has published a new rule regarding private sales and gun shows
  • The rule aims to redefine who constitutes an FFL (Federal Firearms License) and who needs a license
  • The new rule expands the definition of being engaged in the business of selling firearms and will potentially shut down private sales and third-party purveyor websites
  • The criteria for being considered an FFL include offering firearms for sale, repeatedly offering firearms for sale within 30 days, offering like-new firearms, and selling firearms that were in business inventory
  • There is a 90-day comment period for the rule, and public comments can make a difference in shaping the final rule

Video Summary

The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) has once again made headlines with their proposed new rule on private sales and gun shows. This comes after their recent success in implementing rules on stabilizing braces and frames and receivers. The ATF's new rule aims to redefine who is considered a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder and who needs to have a license. The most concerning aspect of this rule is its potential to shut down gun shows and restrict private sales nationwide.

The proposed rule, which spans 108 pages, outlines the ATF's plan to expand the definition of being engaged in the business of selling firearms. This expanded definition would require individuals to obtain a federal firearms license and conduct background checks when selling firearms. Violating this requirement would be considered a felony offense.

While the rule may not directly impact Washington state, which closed the "Gun Show loophole" in 2009 through initiative 594, it does raise concerns for other states with more restrictive gun laws. When the federal government adopts measures already implemented by states, it often signals further restrictions on Second Amendment rights.

Unlike previous rules on stabilizing braces and frames and receivers, the ATF now has a statutory framework in place to support their expanded definition. The bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed last year, provides the ATF with the authority to enforce this new rule. This means that any private sale could potentially fall under the purview of the ATF's definition of an FFL holder, leading to increased regulation and oversight.

The criteria outlined in the proposed rule give insight into who would be considered an FFL holder. These criteria include offering any number of firearms for sale and indicating a willingness to purchase and sell additional firearms, repeatedly offering firearms for sale within 30 days of purchase, repeatedly offering like-new firearms or those in their original packaging, repeatedly offering multiple firearms of the same make and model, and selling firearms from a business inventory that has not been transferred to a personal collection for at least a year.

Furthermore, the expanded definition also encompasses activities such as creating a website or business cards to advertise a firearms business, maintaining records to track profits and losses from firearm sales, purchasing business insurance, and even renting spaces at gun shows. This means that simply renting a space at a gun show could qualify an individual as an FFL holder.

The implications of this rule are significant, particularly for states where gun shows are popular. If implemented, this rule could potentially lead to the shutdown of many gun shows and restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to engage in private sales.

Currently, the proposed rule is open for comments for a 90-day period. It is crucial for individuals to voice their concerns and opinions during this comment period, as previous instances have shown that public comments can make a difference. The ATF has been known to make significant changes to rules based on public feedback, as seen in the case of stabilizing braces.

Following the comment period, the ATF will make any necessary changes to the rule and then republish it with an effective date. Lawsuits challenging the rule are expected to follow. However, what sets this rule apart from previous ones is the fact that the ATF now has the statutory framework to support it. The bipartisan Safer Communities Act has provided the ATF with the authority to enforce this expanded definition of an FFL holder, making it more challenging to challenge in court.

Lawful and responsible gun owners must stay informed about the law and how it applies to them. It is crucial to understand the potential impact of this proposed rule on Second Amendment rights and to actively participate in the comment period to protect those rights.

To learn more about the proposed rule and how to submit public comments, please visit the Washington Gun Law website. It is essential for all gun owners and enthusiasts to stay engaged and advocate for their rights. Together, we can ensure the preservation of the Second Amendment and protect our freedoms. Stay safe and stay informed.