White House cracks down on ‘gun show loophole’ with new rules

President Joe Biden’s administration announced new rules targeting unlicensed firearm dealers on Thursday in an attempt to close the “gun show loophole.”

The new regulations, a part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, will require dealers to obtain a license and conduct background checks regardless of location. The White House also demanded action from Congress toward requiring universal background checks to complement the new guidelines.

“Today, my Administration is taking action to make sure fewer guns are sold without background checks,” Biden said in a statement. “This is going to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons.”

“Congress needs to finish the job and pass universal background checks legislation now,” Biden said. 

Other stipulations include clarifying that even a single firearm transaction now requires dealers to be licensed if there is activity to suggest they will sell more. Previously, federal law did not establish a threshold on firearm sales before mandating a license. The rules also clarify that buyers are allowed to purchase firearms exclusively for their personal collections, but there must be a reason given, such as hunting. 

The regulations also close the “fire sale loophole,” in which dealers who had their license revoked can transfer guns into their personal collection to sell them that way, and lastly, people may not buy and sell firearms in a 30-day period or a one-year period if they are a similar make/model without becoming a dealer.

“Every year, thousands of unlicensed gun dealers sell tens of thousands of guns without a background check, including to buyers who would have failed one – domestic abusers, violent felons, and even children,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement. “This single gap in our federal background check system has caused unimaginable pain and suffering.”


A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation encompassing the 2017-21 time frame found that the most common medium where firearms are trafficked is through unlicensed dealers.

Despite pushback from Republicans on most issues concerning the Second Amendment, a senior administration official told ABC News that “regulations like this one are not in conflict with the Second Amendment” and will withstand legal action.

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