Biden-Appointed ATF Director Unable to Answer Background Check Query

On Sunday, a federal court prevented the Biden administration from fully enforcing a new regulation that would have mandated background checks and licenses for gun sellers at gun shows and online.

As a temporary measure, Amarillo U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk blocked the enforcement of the regulation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Republican-led Texas or against members of various gun rights organizations.

Director Steve Dettelbach of the ATF was stumped at a Thursday hearing when asked about a rule that the Biden administration imposed about background checks.

During Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing headlined “Oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,” Republican Representative Chip Roy of Texas questioned Dettelbach.

After Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a new regulation on April 10, Roy wanted to know how many guns would have to be sold before a Federal Firearms License would be necessary, so he approached ATF director Dettelbach.

Roy inquired of Dettelbach if he would require a license to sell his gun to a friend in Texas.

Dettelbach began crafting a murky answer when Roy cut him off and said

It was a straightforward question, something where a yes or no answer would suffice.

But people who want to hide the truth do not answer directly.

An appointee of Republican former president Donald Trump, Judge Kacsmaryk, made his judgment on Monday in response to a lawsuit filed by three other Republican-led states, gun rights groups, and Texas. The regulation is set to take effect on Monday.

The rule was stated to close the “gun show loophole,” which would impact over 23,000 unlicensed dealers and thousands of gun transactions each year.

The regulation mandates background checks for all purchasers of firearms, including those at gun shows, other events, and online.

Just like the plaintiffs, Kacsmaryk found that the rule’s provisions went against the wording of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a bill passed in 2022 that expanded the class of people who needed licenses to sell guns.

He took issue with the regulation since it did not provide a legislative exception for those who purchase or sell weapons for self-defense, as opposed to those who do so for a “personal collection.”

However, the court decided not to prevent the rule’s implementation in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah because they could not prove they had standing to do so.