Fight Over DOJ’s Proposed Re-Definition Of ‘Engaged In Business’

By Dave Workman

Seven Republican Senators have signed a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, asserting the proposed rule changing the definition of “Engaged in the Business” as firearms dealers is part of an ongoing attack on American gun owners.

“This latest action by the Biden administration,” the senators wrote, “is yet another step in their campaign to attack law-abiding gun owners. The administration has stated its intent to ‘move the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation.’ But Congress has not authorized universal background checks, and the administration does not have the authority to impose this policy unilaterally.”

The letter is signed by Senators Roger Marshall (Kansas), John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Eric Schmitt (R., Mo.), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.).

The National Review is reporting that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ proposed rule “expands upon the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s modified definition of ‘engaged in the business’ of selling guns” if the intent is to make a profit.

Many see this proposal as an effort to regulate gun shows out of business by essentially requiring hobbyist gun traders to become federally licensed firearms dealers.

“Under this newly proposed rule,” the senators wrote, “common, innocent, and lawful behavior can lead to a person being presumed to be ‘engaged in the business’ of dealing in firearms or to be selling firearms with the ‘intent to predominantly earn a profit.’ Nowhere, however, has Congress expressed any intention to enact these far-reaching presumptions, nor are they legitimate categorical inferences from any statutory text Congress has enacted.

“In 2022,” the letter recalled, “Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which made a small textual change to the statutory definition of ‘engaged in the business.’ The legislation removed language requiring an individual’s behavior to be ‘with the principal objective of livelihood and profit,’ changing it to require the conduct be ‘to predominantly earn a profit.’ The altered ‘engaged in the business’ definition maintains language making clear that a “course” of  ‘repetitive’ buying and reselling of firearms is still required to meet the definition of ‘engaged in the business.’ Moreover, the definition still makes clear that the ‘term shall not include 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.’”