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Florida AG Ashley Moody Seeks to Block Biden Rule Expanding Firearm Background Checks

Florida joins other Republican-led US states filing lawsuits challenging the new rule


TALLAHASSEE — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Biden administration ATF rule meant to address the commonly referred to “gun show loophole” within the national gun purchasing system.

Moody entered the lawsuit in Tampa, seeking to block enforcement of the rule that she called “unlawful” in a recent press release. Moody’s lawsuit joins more than two dozen other lawsuits filed by Republican state attorney generals on Wednesday. The suits have been filed in Texas, Arizona and Florida.

The rule would require many non-brick-and-mortar firearms dealers to be licensed to sell firearms and to run background checks on purchasers to ensure the buyer is legally permitted to own a firearm. The rule would apply to non-storefront sales, including those conducted online or at gun show events.

In her lawsuit, Moody argues the new rule violates the Second Amendment and that neither the Biden Administration nor the ATF have the authority to implement it.

In a prepared statement from her office, Moody said the rule would, “force thousands of law-abiding gun owners to register as federal firearms dealers and navigate a federal bureaucracy. It’s unlawful and reflects a lack of respect for our Second Amendment rights.”

The Biden administration announced the finalized rule last month as an expansion of background checks under the Safer Communities Act, a 2022 bipartisan law. In an April 11 White House press release, Biden said the new rule would “keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons.”

However, Moody alleges in the lawsuit that the new rule goes too far beyond the provisions of the 2022 Safer Communities Act in violation of the federal Administrative Procurement Act.

The lawsuit argues that the rule “obliterates” the exception to the definition of “dealer” for “a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.”

Moody argues that Congress never indicated in the statute that a financial motive would render a person ineligible for the personal collection or hobby exception.

“Many people who sell, purchase, and exchange firearms to enhance their personal collection or for a hobby do so, in part, in hopes of making money,” says the lawsuit. “The same is true of someone who collects antiques, baseball cards, or Beanie Babies.”

Federal law has required federally licensed firearms dealers to run background checks before selling or transferring a firearm for nearly 30 years, but unlicensed sales have increased over the years, says the Biden Administration.

“These background checks have helped keep guns out of the hands of more than three million individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms,” said the White House in its press release. “Despite the law, a growing number of unlicensed sellers continue to sell firearms for profit to complete strangers they meet at gun shows and online marketplaces, which has been a critical gap in the background check laws.”

The White House added that individuals who could not pass a background check have intentionally sought out unlicensed sellers in order to evade background check requirements.

In the suit, Moody also contends that the expanded background check rule will have “a significant” impact on the State of Florida.

“Unlike in many states,” the lawsuit includes, “Florida conducts background checks at the state level rather than relying on the federal government. Florida does so even though state law does not mandate background checks for firearms sales beyond what federal law requires.”

Moody argues that under the rule, Florida will experience backlogs and delays in processing background checks due to the increased number being conducted as more sellers are required to perform background checks.

The lawsuit states, “The challenged rule… purports to force thousands of law-abiding gun owners to register as federal firearms dealers and navigate a federal bureaucracy as a precondition to engaging in constitutionally protected activity. The challenged rule is unlawful…ATF does not have authority to promulgate it because ATF’s rulemaking authority is carefully circumscribed.” 

When the rule was finalized in April, officials with the Biden Administration said they were confident the rule would withstand anticipated lawsuits. The President has also called on Congress to pass universal background check legislation.


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  • rayfusco68

    You can't have your cake and eat it too! If you don't want at risk people from having firearms you can't limit background checks for firearm ownership. This is an idiotic lawsuit. What we should be doing is clarifying at risk situations to protect the public from irresponsible gun ownership. Our justice system just sent two parents to jail for providing access to a gun to their son, but a dealer can sell a gun to any Tom, **** or Harry. Insanity!

    Sunday, May 5 Report this

  • gladiolusgirl257

    Baseball cards and Beanie Babies don't kill people.

    Sunday, May 5 Report this

  • spiceyar

    We do need better, more thorough background checks, waiting periods. This suit is not in the best interest of our citizens. Speak out!

    Sunday, May 5 Report this