The National Rifle Association (NRA) has expressed strong disapproval towards a new proposal by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), arguing it could potentially criminalize American citizens for selling firearms. The proposal, known as ATF2022R-17 or “Definition of ‘Engaged in the Business’ as a Dealer in Firearms,” seeks to redefine the term “dealer” to include individuals who sell firearms and show a willingness and capability to buy and sell additional firearms.
The NRA contends that this proposed rule infringes on constitutional Second Amendment rights and ignores a recent ruling that they supported. They further argue that the expanded definition of a dealer would create confusion among those owning guns legally, making them unsure about which gun transactions require a federal firearms license.
The ATF’s proposal also adopts the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s definition of making a profit from gun sales. This means it covers individuals who make profits from selling firearms in ways other than cash, a point of contention for the NRA.
The ATF opened the proposal for public comments, receiving responses from over 330,000 individuals and groups. Among these, the NRA voiced its concerns, arguing that the rule would confuse legal gun owners about the necessity of a federal firearms license for certain transactions.
The proposal has also drawn criticism from a coalition of 26 attorneys general led by Republican Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen. They have denounced the proposal as an unconstitutional assault on the Second Amendment. The NRA has shown support for this coalition, commending their active opposition to the rule and pledging to fight against it at every level.
Neither the ATF nor the White House has issued a response to the NRA’s statement so far. As the debate continues, legal gun owners, sellers, and buyers will be watching closely to see how this proposal might impact their rights and responsibilities.