Texas judge blocks Biden administration rule requiring more gun sellers to run background checks

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked a new rule from the Biden administration that would force gun dealers to carry out background checks and secure licenses when selling firearms at shows and other venues outside traditional gun stores. 

The order from U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo will remain in effect until June 2 and covers Texas and members of gun rights groups, including the Gun Owners of America. The states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah, he said, “will not be afforded relief at this stage of litigation.” 

Kacsmaryk wrote that the new rule contradicted the language of the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which expanded the category of gun sellers required to obtain licenses, according to Reuters. He also blamed the rule for not letting people who buy or sell guns for personal protection from being eligible for a licensing requirement exemption given to those who buy or sell firearms for a “personal collection.”

The judge noted that this means that “the statute’s safe harbor provision provides no safe harbor at all for the majority of gun owners.”

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“I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “The Biden Administration cannot unilaterally overturn Americans’ constitutional rights and nullify the Second Amendment.” 

“Despite Congress having recognized the legality of private firearms sales by non-dealers, the Biden Administration issued a new regulation that would subject hundreds of thousands of law-abiding gun owners to presumptions of criminal guilt for engaging in constitutionally protected activities,” Paxton’s office said. 

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President Biden has previously said the rule will “keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons” and that his administration “is going to continue to do everything we possibly can to save lives.” 

The administration predicted that the rule will force some 20,000 firearms dealers to start conducting background checks, on top of the 80,000 federally-registered dealers that were already doing so. 

“This final rule does not infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights, and it will not negatively impact the many law-abiding licensed firearms dealers in our nation,” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Director Steve Dettelbach previously said. “They are already playing by the rules.” 

Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report. 

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