Federal Judge Blocks Biden ATF Rule Expanding Gun Background Checks

RGA3R6 Rifles, guns and American flag on table

Photo: Alamy | Originally published by Harold Hutchison at Daily Caller News Foundation

A federal judge temporarily blocked a background check rule issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Sunday night.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the rule covering background checks for firearms purchases April 10, claiming it was based on bipartisan legislation passed in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. United States District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the rule until June 2.

The rule would dramatically expand the definition of when someone is “engaged in business” as a gun dealer subject to background check regulations, thereby expanding the number of who must submit to background checks.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other Republican state attorneys general sued to block the rule May 1.

“I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect,” Paxton said in a press release. “The Biden Administration cannot unilaterally overturn Americans’ constitutional rights and nullify the Second Amendment.”

The Biden administration has pushed multiple regulations of firearms since the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed in June 2022 following the shooting at Ross Elementary School in Uvalde.

The states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming joined the suit, according to a May 1 release by Republican Attorney General Austin Knudsen of Montana.

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“President Biden and his anti-gun administration have aggressively pursued an agenda meant to harass, intimidate, and criminalize gun owners and dealers at every turn,” Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said. “This ruling is a compelling rebuke of their tyrannical and unconstitutional actions that purposely misinterpreted federal law to ensure their preferred policy outcome.”

“We will continue the fight to ensure that this administration never succeeds in their goal of building a comprehensive database of firearm transaction records, which this rule would have been critical to accomplishing,” Pratt continued.

The White House and the National Rifle Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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