In a move that's drawing sharp criticism from Second Amendment advocates, the Biden administration has proposed a new rule requiring a substantial number of additional firearms dealers to run background checks. While the administration portrays this as a step towards reducing gun violence, many see it as an unwarranted expansion of federal power and an infringement on Americans' constitutional rights.
The Proposed Rule
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the new rule would affect between 24,500 and 328,000 sellers. The rule is intended for those involved in the business of gun sales rather than private collectors. The intention is to expand the scope of required background checks to include people who sell firearms online or at gun shows, areas often criticized as "loopholes" in the existing background check system.
The Real Issue: Erosion of Rights
While the intention of reducing gun violence is laudable, the means of achieving this goal must be consistent with constitutional principles. Here are some points of concern:
1. Executive Overreach
The expansion of background checks through executive action rather than through legislative processes could be viewed as an overreach of authority.
There's no conclusive evidence to suggest that expanding background checks will significantly decrease gun violence. In fact, many of the firearms used in crimes are acquired illegally, circumventing any background check mechanisms.
3. Burden on Law-Abiding Citizens
The new rule could impose undue burdens on law-abiding citizens who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The red tape could discourage individuals from legally purchasing firearms, thereby undermining their constitutional rights.
4. Slippery Slope
Once the executive branch gains the authority to expand background checks, what stops it from implementing even more restrictive measures in the future?
Voices of Opposition
The proposed rule has drawn criticism from various quarters. Gun rights groups argue that it does little to address the root causes of gun violence and instead infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens. Legal challenges are expected, given that similar ATF rules have previously been met with lawsuits from gun rights advocates.
A Call for Action
The issue of gun violence is a complex and multi-faceted problem that won't be solved by a single rule change. Measures that infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans should not be the go-to solution for combating gun violence. Moreover, such significant changes should be thoroughly debated in the legislative arena, where representatives can voice the concerns of their constituents, rather than being unilaterally decided by the executive branch.
While the problem of gun violence in America is a serious issue that demands attention, the solution should not come at the cost of eroding constitutional rights. The Biden administration's proposed rule on background checks raises serious questions about executive overreach and the potential infringement of Second Amendment rights. As this rule is open for public comment for 90 days, now is the time for those concerned to make their voices heard.