Washington, DC — Congresswoman Lucy McBath has co-led a letter with Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Signed by over 160 Members of Congress, the letter voices support for a proposed rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) titled "Definition of 'Engaged in the Business' as a Dealer in Firearms." This proposal utilizes provisions in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), passed in 2022 and signed into law by President Biden, to expand background check requirements for gun sellers not previously classified as a Federal firearm licensee (FFL).
The proposed rule will expand the definition of "engaged in the business" of dealing firearms to anyone who sells firearms to earn a profit, requiring them to register as an FFL and perform background checks. By doing so, this rule will close potential loopholes that allow individuals to avoid background checks. The initiative aligns with the overarching goal of the BSCA, to prevent gun violence and create safer communities.
The full text of the letter can be found HERE.
"For the first time in three decades, Congress came together to address the American crisis of gun violence by passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act," McBath said. "With this proposed rule, we have the opportunity to take another step towards strengthening our background check system and closing dangerous loopholes that put our communities at risk. I thank my colleagues for their support. Together, we continue to speak up to save lives."
"The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was a historic step forward to prevent gun violence and make our communities safer for everyone. The proposed ATF rule to clarify and strengthen background check requirements honors the spirit of the BSCA and will help prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands," said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “I am proud to lead my colleagues in support of the rule and reflect our unwavering commitment to public safety. I will continue to support robust efforts to strengthen gun violence prevention laws and invest in communities.”
“Too many families have mourned the loss of a loved one – children, parents, friends – because of the rampant gun violence in this country. We must implement further gun violence prevention measures, including ensuring that everyone who purchases a gun passes a background check. Under existing law, certain gun sellers can evade the requirement to perform background checks, potentially allowing firearms to fall into the wrong hands,” said Durbin. “I’m joining my colleagues in support of ATF’s proposed rule to close that loophole and require gun dealers to do their due diligence and conduct background checks on their buyers.”
“Closing loopholes that gun sellers use to avoid background checks is an essential step towards ensuring that people who are a danger to themselves or others are not able to purchase firearms. I’m proud to work with gun violence prevention leaders like Robin Kelly and other members of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force on moving towards universal background checks. This rule will help us save lives and keep our communities safe from the scourge of gun violence, and I look forward to a continued partnership with ATF to close loopholes and crack down on bad actors seeking to exploit our laws,” said Rep. Mike Thompson.
“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was an urgent response to the gun violence epidemic that continues to shatter families and communities — and it’s critical we seize this historic legislation, which is a necessary first step in gun safety reform, to help save lives,” Rep. Dean said. “The ATF’s proposed rule builds on our legislation to close potential loopholes in firearm sales. I’m grateful for Congresswoman Robin Kelly for leading congressional support of this ATF rule.”“America’s current background check system is riddled with loopholes, to the point where it’s like having two security lines at the airport—one where people are required to be screened, and one where people can stroll through carrying whatever guns they want. You can guess which line the criminals prefer. Closing the online and gun show loopholes will keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people and save lives. We thank Representative Kelly and Senator Durbin and all of the signatories to this comment, and we urge the Administration to urgently finalize their proposed rule as written,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety.