Gun show loophole: White House issues new rule to expand background checks

FILE-A SIG Sauer P365 pistol is seen at the Sig Sauer display at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting's exposition hall at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on October 11, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Ge

The Biden administration is issuing a new rule requiring gun dealers nationwide to conduct background checks on buyers when selling at gun shows or other places outside stores.

This rule, finalized this week, sets to close a loophole that has allowed thousands of guns to be sold annually by unlicensed dealers who don't perform background checks to make sure the potential consumer is not legally banned from having a gun. 

It’s also a continued effort by the Biden administration to fight gun violence and prevent deaths amid a combative election year.

A spokesperson for U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) provided a statement to FOX Television Stations explaining that "Sens. Cornyn and Tillis (Thom Tillis (R-NC) plan to introduce a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn this unconstitutional rule and already have other Senate Republicans signed on in support. The administration is acting lawlessly here, and the vast majority of this rule has nothing to do with the BSCA. Of course, this rule has been on the administration’s wish list for many years despite Congress rejecting these provisions repeatedly." 

RELATED: Mass shootings spark different laws as states split between gun rights and control

According to the Associated Press, the Biden administration first proposed the rule in August 2023, after passing the most extensive gun violence bill in years, a bipartisan compromise in response to the killing of 19 students and two teachers at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school.

That law expanded the definition of individuals who sell guns and are required to become licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and run background checks. The rule, which applies the change in the law, will be implemented 30 days after it's listed in the Federal Register.

The AP noted there are about 80,000 federally licensed gun dealers. Administration officials believe the new rule will affect over 20,000 dealers who have sold guns without a license and conduct background checks at places like gun shows and online. 

RELATED: Supreme Court reinstates regulation of ghost guns, firearms without serial numbers

Recently, the ATF unveiled new statistics that show over 68,000 illegally sold guns in the U.S. came through unlicensed dealers who aren’t required to perform background checks over a five-year time. 

The ATF report also noted that guns sold by unlicensed dealers were used in almost 370 shootings between 2017 and 2021.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.