AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Watchdog Group Exposes Biden Plan to Target Private Gun Sales Through the ATF

The Biden administration is still trying to impose more restrictions on your right to keep and bear arms. 

Ever since President Joe Biden took office, he has sought to pass legislation that would make it harder for responsible Americans to obtain and carry firearms. However, the makeup of Congress made it impossible to pass his most ambitious restrictions.

Because of this, the White House has been forced to seek out new and inventive ways to violate the Second Amendment and has relied heavily on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Now, a new report from Sharyl Atkisson suggests that the White House is targeting private firearm sales in the United States. If this move is successful, it would mark a substantial shift in how private gun sales are handled.

Sources inside the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) say the White House has directed the agency to draft a document supporting an effective ban on private sales of firearms.
That’s according to the watchdog group, Empower Oversight.
Empower Oversight is requesting records related to what it calls the “unconstitutional measure.”
According to the sources, “at the direction of the White House, the ATF has drafted a 1,300-page document in support of a rule that would effectively ban private sales of firearms from one citizen to another by requiring background checks for every sale. The document’s drafting is reportedly being overseen by Senior Policy Counsel Eric Epstein, who worked as the Phoenix Field Office’s Division Counsel during Operation Wide Receiver (a precursor of Operation Fast and Furious).”

Empower Oversight recently sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland taking issue with the president’s anti-gun plan and demanding that the agency disclose information related to it.

Such an expansive rule that treats all private citizens the same as federal firearms licensees would circumvent the separation of powers in the Constitution, which grants “all legislative Powers” to Congress while requiring that the President “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” To the extent such a rule prevents the private sale of firearms, it would also clearly violate the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which declares that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Nor would such a rule only hurt law-abiding firearms owners. The lessons of the Ruby Ridge and Waco standoffs should make clear that attempting to enforce such an expansive regulation could endanger countless ATF field agents who are forced to serve as the face of the Biden Administration in going after private firearms owners for constitutionally-protected firearms sales.

The purpose of the administration’s plan is intended to effectively end private sales without government involvement.

There are some obvious issues with this plan.

For starters, it runs afoul of the Second Amendment. Requiring universal background checks and the elimination of private gun sales will quickly turn into a slippery slope leading to even more restrictions. There is absolutely no reason to believe the Biden administration will stop at targeting private sales in this manner.

Secondly, using the ATF to impose such sweeping changes is nothing more than another way to implement gun control through fiat rather than going through Congress to pass legislation to this effect. Of course, given that Republicans control the House, the White House knows it can’t count on passing additional laws that would enshrine the president’s plan.

Lastly, the proposed regulation would criminalize law-abiding gun owners and make it harder for them to sell their own property. The additional steps and the potential costs associated with conducting background checks will deter people from buying or selling guns privately.

Naturally, the administration will likely argue that imposing these restrictions will magically keep more people safe. However, like most anti-gun policies, it won’t save lives and will only punish responsible gun owners. 

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