White House to Close Loophole Allowing Gun Sales Without Background Checks

Background checks to purchase a gun could soon be expanding based on efforts currently being undertaken by the Biden administration. 

This comes after gun-control advocates have demanded more security measures be put in place after the increase in mass shootings, specifically the one that happened at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was expected to submit the final rule to the Federal Register on Thursday. It would eliminate a current loophole that has allowed people to purchase guns without having to go through a background check and from places other than traditional retail stores.

The rule was issued under what’s known as the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. That requires anyone who sells a firearm for a profit to hold a license to do so. Buyers also must go through a background check to purchase the gun, including if they purchase the item at a flea market or firearms show.

The Biden administration has been working on crafting this rule since the spring of 2023. Once it is officially published, the rule will take effect 30 days after.

This loophole has allowed gun dealers to sell guns for years without having to subject buyers to background checks. They were able to sell the firearms at gun shows, online and even out of their own homes.

A Biden administration official said that this new rule will apply to an estimated more than 20,000 people who are engaged in gun dealing without a license and will affect “tens and tens of thousands of gun sales” on an annual basis.

On a call with reporters previewing the rule announcement, Vice President Kamala Harris said:

“This single gap in our federal background check system has caused unimaginable pain and suffering.”

Next week marks the 25th anniversary of the mass shooting that took place at Columbine High School. That was carried out by teens who were able to purchase the guns through this loophole, since they were purchased at a gun show.

A 2019 shooting that happened in Odessa and Midland, Texas, was carried out by a man who killed seven people and wounded several others.

He was prevented from buying a gun in 2014 from a sporting goods store due to a background check. However, he was able to purchase an AR-15 later from a seller he met online who didn’t have a license.

As Harris commented:

“So many communities have been torn apart by acts of violence committed with weapons bought without background checks. So in the memory of all those we have lost today, as the head of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, I am proud to announce that all gun dealers now must conduct background checks no matter where or how they sell their merchandise.”

This new rule certainly expands background checks, but does not meet President Joe Biden’s wishes of putting universal background checks in place, a private transfers of firearms aren’t subject to this new rule.