Judge Delivers Blow to Joe Biden’s Gun Background Check Rule

By: Georgia | Published: May 20, 2024

A Texas judge has just put the brakes on a Biden administration rule aimed at tightening background checks at gun shows. 

The rule, which was supposed to kick in next Monday, sought to clamp down on what’s known as the “gun show loophole.”

The Gun Show Loophole Explained

This loophole has allowed unlicensed dealers to sell thousands of guns annually without running background checks.

A crowded gun show scene with a long table covered with various types of handguns. The table is densely packed

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The new rule was set to change that, aiming to significantly reduce unchecked gun sales.


A Temporary Block in Texas

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, stationed in Amarillo, made a temporary decision to halt the rule’s enforcement in Texas.

An aerial view of a large, crowded gun show in a spacious hall. Numerous vendors and visitors are seen from above, with tables filled with guns, knives, and military memorabilia. Banners and flags are visible throughout the venue

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The halt also affects members of several gun rights groups, including the two-million-strong Gun Owners of America.

Nationwide Legal Challenges Arise

Earlier in the month, a coalition of 26 Republican attorneys general took a stand by filing lawsuits against the ATF’s new rule.

A close-up of a wooden judge's gavel resting on its sound block, placed on a dark wooden desk

Source: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels

They argue that the new background check requirements overstep legal boundaries set for federal agencies.

Texas AG Steps In

In reaction to the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated, “I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect.”

A group of officials stands behind a podium bearing the Department of Justice seal. The group, composed of men and women in business attire

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He emphasized the protection of constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment.

Mixed Results Across States

Although the rule was halted in Texas, Judge Kacsmaryk did not apply the same restriction in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah.

Inside a gun show, an elderly man inspects a collection of vintage rifles displayed on a table. The rifles are arranged neatly in rows

Source: Wikimedia Commons

He pointed out that these states failed to prove they had the standing needed to file such a challenge.


Judge's Reasoning Against the Rule

Appointed by former President Donald Trump, Judge Kacsmaryk noted that the rule conflicts with the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

A close-up view of various rifles and boxes of ammunition displayed on a table covered with a red cloth

Source: esparttt/X

This Act already modified the licensing requirements for gun sellers, thus creating a regulatory contradiction.


Dispute Over Rule's Exemptions

The rule also faced criticism for not including those who buy or sell guns mainly for personal protection in its exemptions, which are meant for collectors.

A man in an orange jacket examines a revolver at a gun show table. The table is filled with various types of handguns laid out with price tags, and other pistols are showcased in open cases next to more gun accessories

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Judge Kacsmaryk highlighted this as “the absurdity that the statute’s safe harbor provision provides no safe harbor at all for the majority of gun owners.”


Administration's Confidence Despite Setbacks

Despite the temporary setback, Biden’s team remains confident that the rule will endure through legal challenges.

President Joe Biden stands smiling, speaking at a podium adorned with the Presidential seal, set up outdoors with multiple American flags in the background

Source: POTUS/X

This optimism reflects their commitment to implementing stricter gun control as a measure to reduce gun violence across the country.


Advocates Rally Behind the Rule

Gun control advocates are not backing down.

A large crowd of protesters marching for gun control in Washington D.C. They carry signs saying "Background Checks Save Lives" and "Close the Gun Show Loophole,"

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Kris Brown, president of the Brady group, emphasized the urgency of closing these loopholes, stating, “If we don’t update our national system… there is no telling how many more Americans we will lose to gun violence.”


Biden’s Broader Gun Control Mission

Amidst a wave of mass shootings, President Biden has prioritized curbing gun violence.

President Joe Biden, smiling broadly, stands at a podium with the Presidential seal. He is speaking at an event

Source: POTUS/X

His stance has met with considerable resistance from Republicans advocating for fewer gun restrictions.


A Divisive Issue Heading to Elections

As the 2024 election approaches, gun control remains a polarizing topic.

A group of people at a pro-gun rights rally holding up signs. One prominent sign reads "Come and take it" featuring a stylized rifle graphic, while another states "Gun laws don't stop criminals."

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This issue is likely to ignite fervent debates between Democrats and Republicans, shaping a critical narrative for voters.