Florida challenges federal gun seller rule

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a federal suit on Wednesday challenging a new Biden Administration rule that requires more gun sellers be licensed and to run background checks on their buyers.

Moody’s filed the lawsuit in Tampa claiming that the Biden Administration overstepped their legal authority. Moody stated in a statement prepared by the firm that this rule would “force thousands law-abiding firearm owners to register as federal gun dealers and navigate through a federal bureaucracy.”

Last month, the Biden administration said it had finalized a rule that was designed to close “loopholes,” in a system requiring licensed gun dealers run background checks. A White House overview from April 11 stated that “a growing number unlicensed sellers are continuing to sell firearms to complete strangers at gun shows and on online marketplaces. This has been a crucial gap in background check laws.”

The rule is a result of a law passed in 2022 that changed the background-checking system. Moody’s claims that the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act and goes “far beyond” what the law says.

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The lawsuit is focusing on a part of the rule that applies to people who resell firearms, which makes them more likely dealers and require licenses. It cited federal law as an example and stated that the rule “obliterates” the exception for people who make occasional sales, exchanges or purchases of guns for the enhancement or hobby of their personal collection, or sell all or part.

The lawsuit stated that “many gun owners purchase and then sell firearms.” Sometimes they only do it to add to their own collection. “However, sometimes they do it only to add to their personal collection.”

The lawsuit also argued that an increase in background check due to the rule would have “significant impact” for Florida, who performs checks via the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The lawsuit stated that Florida does background checks on its own, rather than relying solely on the federal government. “Florida conducts background checks at the state level, rather than relying on the federal government,” said the lawsuit.

In its overview of the new rule, released on April 11, the White House stated that the rule would “save many lives by reducing firearm sales without background checks.” It also said that the rule “explicitly” states that occasional sales of firearms from a collection of personal firearms or a liquidating collection do not require federal firearms licensing or background checks.

The rule is listed in the overview as requiring that dealers be licensed and background checks are conducted.

The overview stated that if someone repeatedly sells guns of the same make and model, or similar ones, within a year of purchasing them, they should become a licensed seller. The overview stated that if a person repeatedly sells firearms in the 30 days following their purchase or if they tell potential buyers that additional firearms can be acquired for them to buy, then that seller should become a licensed retailer.

In recent years, Moody has brought or joined a number of lawsuits challenging the decisions made by the Biden administration.

She joined Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia to file a lawsuit on Monday over a new rule implementing Title IX. This landmark law from 1972 prohibits discrimination in educational programs based upon a person’s gender. This lawsuit claims, among other things, that the Biden Administration overstepped its legal boundaries by extending the regulations in order to cover discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identification.