The “Engaged in the Business Rule” Clarifies that Private Commercial Gun Sellers Must Conduct Background Checks as Intended by Congress

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2024 – Joint amicus briefs from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, GIFFORDS Law Center, and March for Our Lives have been filed in defense of a newly announced rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Republican Attorneys General across 26 states have filed three lawsuits to challenge the rule. The states named have the weakest gun safety laws that contribute to firearm trafficking across the country and that have higher rates of gun violence than states with stronger laws.

Kris Brown, President of Brady, said:

“The ATF’s rule closes vital loopholes in our nation’s lifesaving Brady Background Check system and makes it clear that if you are selling firearms for a profit – either online or at a gun show – you must operate under the same guidelines as a federally licensed firearm dealer. This means your standard operating procedures must now include a background check. Before the groundbreaking Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), approximately 1 in 5 guns was sold with no background check. That means countless prohibited purchasers were able to obtain a firearm by circumventing the system in place to keep us safe. We will do all we can to defend the ATF’s rule, and this amicus is the first step towards defending not just this rule but the future our children deserve: a future free from gun violence.”

Eric Tirschwell, Executive Director of Everytown Law, said:

“At the surface this rule appears modest: it straightforwardly and appropriately implements Congress’ directive that those who sell guns for profit must be licensed. But make no mistake, the impact is huge. This rule means more licensed dealers and, in turn, more background checks. It means fewer unlicensed sellers to funnel guns into the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and traffickers who wouldn't be able to pass a background check. We are proud to stand with the Biden administration in defending this life-saving rule.”

Emma Brown, Executive Director, GIFFORDS, said:

“It’s simple: background checks are how we ensure guns don’t end up in the hands of someone who shouldn’t have them. President Biden and ATF took commonsense action to close loopholes that allowed people selling guns for profit to skip this lifesaving step. This rule brought us closer to the universal background checks that 90% of Americans support. The courts must uphold this vital gun safety protection.”

Ciara Malone, Legal Director at March For Our Lives, said:

“The state Attorneys General who filed lawsuits against this rule will have blood on their hands if it’s overturned. Let’s be clear: this rule is common sense, evidence-based, and most importantly, life-saving. It closes dangerous loopholes that have allowed unlicensed private sellers to sell guns without background checks for decades, whether at gun shows, online, or at other venues. These glaring loopholes have allowed countless guns to exchange hands without background checks, circumventing the law without consequences, and contributing to the gun violence epidemic. By closing this dangerous regulatory gap, we are taking a crucial step towards building safer communities and saving lives. March For Our Lives and youth activists are proud to have played a role in closing these loopholes and we will do everything we can to defend this rule.”

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