Judge Strikes Down Biden’s Push to Expand Gun Background Checks

(RepublicanNews.org) – A federal judge blocked the full implementation of the Biden administration’s new policy that would mandate firearms dealers to conduct background checks and obtain gun licenses before selling online or at gun shows.

On Sunday, May 19th, US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk made the call to temporarily restrain a new rule imposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in its enforcement in Texas and against multiple gun rights organizations. Kacsmaryk was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2019.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement he was “relieved” that the GOP was “able to secure a restraining order” against the ATF to prevent what he described as an “illegal rule” from coming into effect. The Department of Justice (DOJ) defended the new rule in court but did not respond to the recent decision blocking it in Texas.

The ruling comes just before the new rule would have officially taken effect on Monday, May 20th, and was issued by Kacsmaryk in response to litigation from gun rights advocates, the state of Texas, and three other red states. That lawsuit challenges the new rule, which was finalized in April by President Joe Biden with the intention of closing a “loophole” in gun show purchases. The rule would impact over 23,000 unlicensed dealers who sell at gun shows, online, or elsewhere, by requiring the same background checks as regular stores must conduct on potential buyers.

The judge sided with the plaintiffs, determining that the provisions of the rule contradict the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which widened the gun seller category for license requirement. Kacsmaryk said the rule should have permitted people purchasing or selling firearms used for personal protection to be eligible for an exemption of licensing requirements already allowed for those buying or selling for the sake of collecting. The judge said it was an “absurdity” that the statute provided no “safe harbor provision” for most gun owners.

Kacsmaryk did not block the enforcement of the rule in Utah, Mississippi, and Louisiana because he did not think the cases in those states had standing. Pending more litigation, the current block in Texas will remain until June 2nd.

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