New Biden Administration Rule Targets Gun Show Sales, Faces NRA Criticism

The Biden administration advanced a rule on Thursday that moves toward requiring individuals selling firearms online and at gun shows to conduct background checks on buyers, aiming to close what gun control advocates dub the “gun show loophole.”

The finalized rule aims to define more clearly what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms, thus increasing requirements to obtain a federal firearms license (FFL). Attorney General Merrick Garland highlighted that this regulation will apply regardless of where guns are sold—online, at gun shows, or in physical stores—emphasizing that if firearms are sold predominantly for profit, sellers must be licensed and conduct background checks.

Kamala Harris emphasized the significance of the rule, noting that it was being finalized just before the 25th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, which involved guns purchased through the so-called “gun show loophole.”

“In the years since Columbine, many communities have suffered from gun violence with weapons obtained without background checks,” Harris stated. “Countless families and communities will be spared the horror of gun violence by this new rule.”

The rule, which will be published in the Federal Register and take effect in 30 days, was initially proposed by the administration last August. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed in 2022, expanded the definition of engaging in the business of firearms dealing, covering individuals who regularly trade firearms to earn profit.

In response, the National Rifle Association (NRA) criticized the rule as an attack on law-abiding gun owners, expressing concerns about the potential confiscation of legally acquired firearms.