The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a proposed rule for defining gun sales. Currently, individuals do not require a license to sell guns to family members, or for "collectible personal firearms if sold as a hobby. Because of this, the seller isn't required to run background checks on customers.
Specifically, the proposed rule, if finalized, would clarify that an individual would be presumed to be “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms and therefore be required to become a licensed firearms dealer and run background checks if they meet certain conditions. For example, under the proposed rule, a person would be presumed to be required to become a licensed dealer and run background checks if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Offer for sale any number of firearms and also represents to potential buyers that they are willing and able to purchase and sell them additional firearms.
- Repetitively offer for sale firearms within 30 days after they were purchased.
- Repetitively offer for sale firearms that are like new in their original packaging.
- Repetitively offer for sale multiple firearms of the same make and model.
- As a formerly federally-licensed firearms dealer, sell firearms that were in the business inventory and not transferred to a personal collection at least a year before the sale, addressing the so-called “fire sale loophole.”
The proposed rule would also clarify that, for civil or administrative actions, an individual would be presumed to have the intent to “predominantly earn a profit” if the person engages in activities such as:
- Creating a website or making business cards to advertise or market a firearms business.
- Maintaining records to document and track profits and losses from firearms purchases or sales.
- Purchasing business insurance or renting space at a gun show.
The proposed rule would make clear that there is no “gun show loophole” or “internet loophole” in federal law. Dealers who engage in the business of selling guns are required to obtain a license and run background checks no matter where they engage in the business of buying and selling firearms. That include at gun shows and over the Internet.