Attorney General Treg Taylor joins lawsuit against ATF and Justice Department over gun restrictions

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Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor is part of a coalition of 26 states suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over a new federal rule that takes away the constitutional rights of gun owners.

The lawsuit, led by Texas and Kansas attorneys general, was filed on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Arkansas and was joined by Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Florida has filed a separate lawsuit and Texas has filed its own lawsuit, with Louisiana, Missouri, and Utah. That makes 31 states altogether suing the federal government over the new onerous rule that covers all gun sales in America, even between family members.

“The right to keep and bear arms is central to our country’s history and traditions, so Congress must be careful when addressing that right through federal legislation. For that reason, current law is tailored to regulate and reach only interstate, commercial firearm sales—not small-scale sales and certainly not private sales between individual citizens. And Congress has affirmed that aim time and again through clear statutory text and express statements of purpose. Yet Defendants, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF” or “Director”) Steven Dettelbach, claim that Congress gave them authority to regulate far more broadly. Under a new rule, Definition of “Engaged in the Business” as a Dealer in Firearms, 89 Fed. Reg. 28,968 (Apr. 19, 2024) (“Final Rule”), ATF claims the power to reach and regulate (via an extensive licensing scheme) a citizen who makes a local sale of even one firearm to another individual, the lawsuit says.

“For more than 40 years, the relevant federal statute has already defined who is required to become a federal firearms licensee. Yet Defendants seized on a recent, minor change in that statute and effectively rewrote the entire definition. Until now, only those who repetitively purchased and sold firearms as a regular course of business had to become a licensee. But through the Final Rule, Defendants will now presume that anyone who sells or resells even one firearm with the intent to profit (no matter how little), combined with other (nebulously defined) evidence, is a firearms dealer who must become a licensee. This would put innocent firearms sales between law-abiding friends and family members within the reach of federal regulation. Such innocent sales between friends and family would constitute a felony if the seller did not in fact obtain a federal firearms license and perform a background check,” the state attorneys say in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit names the ATF, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice over the new rule that the Biden Administration finalized April 19.

The rule, the Biden Administration says, is a result of 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was voted affirmatively by Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

President Joe Biden has for years yearned for “universal background check” legislation, which constitutional scholars say is unlawful. Federal law has, until now, seen the difference between firearms dealer and private sellers.

For many years, federal regulations have differentiated between firearms dealers that must have a federal license to sell firearms, and private individuals.

7 COMMENTS

    • I would say that a good 99% of what the fe(de)ral government does today is blatantly overreach, unconstitutional and illegitimate. We live in a mockery of a farce of a democratic republic; in point of fact, we are ruled by an unelected and unaccountable oligarchy, a ragingly sociopathic and psychopathic one at that.

  1. “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”
    Adolf Hitler, 1935, speaking on the weapons act of Nazi Germany

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