Details Leak About Biden’s Impending Rule Change: Backdoor Universal Background Registration Checks
BACKGROUND: GOA warned that the Cornyn-Murphy “Compromise” was a mistake. GOA’s analysts realized that any change to the definition of what it meant for a gun dealer to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms would help the Biden Administration initiate backdoor universal background registration checks (UBCs)[i]—just as Obama had attempted on his last days in office.[ii]
Gun Owners of America again chastised the Republicans responsible for the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act[iii] when President Biden unsurprisingly ordered that the Attorney General initiate a rule change to bring the “U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation.”[iv] GOA has already announced plans to file a lawsuit to block this rule, but that does not absolve Congress of its responsibility to use every means necessary to defend the Second Amendment.
Congress MUST Fight Back
While Gun Owners of America fights for the Second Amendment in the courts, Congress must repeal the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act[v]—which was a compromise with the Biden Administration that Republicans NEVER should have struck. It has been completely weaponized, gun owners have gained nothing, and America is no safer. Cornyn-Murphy has got to go, and Republicans must expiate for this sin.
Congress must also participate in the rulemaking process and voice its opposition to backdoor universal background registration checks during the public notice and comment period alongside GOA members. After commenting during the proposed rule phase, Congress must also take up a joint resolution of disapproval pursuant to the Congressional Review Act and strike down this unconstitutional infringement.
What Do We Know About the Upcoming Rule?
- Universal Background Checks, especially when implemented by executive order, are a blatant infringement—with no basis in the text or history of the Second Amendment.
- The New York Times, which leaked the majority of what is publicly available, stated that the proposal is “expected to be released soon” with a final rule to be published in the “second half of 2024.”[vi]
- Anti-gunners are rebranding private firearm sales as “the gun seller loophole” [vii] and “the growing digital loophole”[viii] to justify executive action—rather than the passage of a new law. The fake “gun show loophole” is “really a passé idea” to Senator Blumenthal now.[ix]
- Failing to register will carry a penalty of up to 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.[x]
- Expect anyone who makes “a profit”—perhaps as little as $1—to be prohibited from selling their privately owned firearms without a federal firearms license or a background check.[xi]
- Expect a maximum number of firearms sales that a private citizen may engage in per year without needing a federal firearms license. Anti-gunners want to limit collectors and sellers to five guns or fewer.[xii] An Obama-era regulation would have set the threshold at even one or two gun sales.[xiii]
- At the same time, the Biden Administration will also increase its use of bank records to target gun owners and gun sellers.[xiv]
NOTE: Why are UBCs Registration Checks?
All background checks require the buyer to complete a Form 4473.[xv] This Firearm Transaction Record includes the buyers name, address, Social Security Number, and other details about them and their firearm.[xvi]
The Biden Administration has required these records be kept permanently by gun stores,[xvii] and they are scanned into a digital and searchable ATF database when a gun store goes out of business.[xviii] These forms are used to “trace” firearms to their owners and constitute a form of gun registration.[xix]
Forms 4473—transformed by the Biden Administration into permanent gun registration forms—are the only enforcement mechanism for Universal Background Checks, as they would prove who obtained a firearm legally (and has a Form 4473 to prove it) and who did not complete the required registration form (and has therefore violated the law). Universal Background Checks require gun registration, and gun registration leads to gun confiscation.
[i] Johnston. “The Odessa, TX Shooting ISN’T a Reason to Expand “Gun Dealer” Definition”. Gun Owners of America. June 15th, 2022.
[ii] Johnston. “Sen. Cornyn’s Expanded Gun “Dealer” Definition Mimics Failed Obama Backdoor Universal Background Checks”. Gun Owners of America. June 15th, 2022.
[iii] Smoloski. “GOA Reacts to Biden’s Executive Order on Universal Background Checks”. Gun Owners of America. March 14th, 2023.
[iv] “FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer”. White House. March 14th, 2023.
[vii] Moms Demand Action. “This MUST READ @NYTimes piece explains how a loophole in federal gun laws—the gun seller loophole—is allowing people with dangerous histories to avoid background checks when attempting to buy guns from unlicensed sellers—most often online or at gun shows.”. Twitter. August 1st, 2023.
[xii] Johnston. “Sen. Cornyn’s Expanded Gun “Dealer” Definition Mimics Failed Obama Backdoor Universal Background Checks”. Gun Owners of America. June 15th, 2022.
[xv] 27 C.F.R. 478.124.
[xviii] Ibid. 12-19.
[xix] “Fact Sheet – eTrace: Internet-Based Firearms Tracing and Analysis”. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. April 2023.