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Wyoming joins lawsuit to stop Biden administration’s new gun sales rule

Wyoming and 20 other states argue that the federal government’s recent attempt to close the gun show loophole by increasing gun vendor licensing and background checks is unconstitutional.

Prosecutors also cite a 1985 speech by then-U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, in which Biden said gun control would not reduce crime, and that criminals could get guns with or without gun control laws.

Why the suit?

Congress slightly amended the 1968 Gun Control Act two years ago, defining gun sellers subject to licensing requirements as those who sell for a profit. This removed the law’s previous caveat that those sellers also had to make a living selling weapons to be subjected to the rigors of arms trafficking. licensure.

President Biden and Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, then turned to the ATF’s regulatory authority to tighten the agency’s rules around changing the law.

“From that tiny seed, the Biden administration and Dettelbach attempted to sneak in through the back door what Congress had long refused to allow through the front door,” says the lawsuit filed last week by Wyoming and the other states at the US court. for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “Nearly universal background checks, with criminal aspects so vague that few individuals would risk selling private firearms.”

According to the text of the rule, on April 10, the ATF finalized the new rule that will go into effect on May 20.

A lawsuit is being filed with the states against Kansas gun collectors Phillip Journey, who is also a state court judge; Allen Black, who sometimes sells guns from his personal collection at gun shows; and Donald Maxey.

The Kansas-based nonprofit Chisholm Trail Antiques Gun Association, which says it wants to preserve the craftsmanship and history of guns through the ages and into the future, is also suing the federal government in the action.

The plaintiffs are asking a federal court to delay the effective date of the ATF’s final rule during the case, ultimately declaring the rule an unlawful violation of the power and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and barring the federal government from implementing it enforce the rule.

A bit of history

Congress did not attempt to regulate the interstate firearms industry until 1934 when it passed the National Firearms Act, which required dealers of short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and machine guns to register and pay taxes.

Four years later, Congress added a general licensing requirement for gun dealers, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938. This broadly defined a “dealer” as anyone who sells guns, ammunition, or ammunition parts.

However, in late 1979 and early 1980, Congress held hearings to address complaints about the ATF’s enforcement techniques, concluding that the law was so broad that ATF micromanaged law-abiding citizens and did not properly focus on lawbreakers.

The result was the federal Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA), which redefined dealers as people who profited from the sale of guns for their livelihood. It exempted casual sellers and hobbyists.

Then-Sen. Joe Biden welcomed FOPA, saying it struck a fair balance between gun rights and enforcement.

“I have never believed that additional gun control or federal registration of guns would reduce crime,” Biden said, according to the states’ complaint. “I firmly believe that a criminal who wants a firearm can obtain one from illegal, untraceable, unregistered sources, with or without gun control.”

The plaintiffs theorize in their complaint that Biden turned to this vantage point to pander to the “increasingly extreme demands of his gun-restrictive electoral base” as he ran for president.

The other states suing Wyoming are:

  • Kansas

  • Arkansas

  • Iowa

  • Montana

  • Alaska

  • Alabama

  • Georgia

  • Idaho

  • Indiana

  • Kentucky

  • Missouri

  • Nebraska

  • New Hampshire

  • North Dakota

  • Oklahoma

  • South Carolina

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia