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Gun Control U-Turn: Senator Cornyn’s Fight Against His Own Legislation

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn helped pass the first significant gun control legislation enacted in 28 years, and now he is fighting a federal rule that was based on the same law he helped create.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a new rule to expand the definition of gun dealers and require background checks for people who sell firearms at gun shows or online. The rule is based on a definition of gun dealers in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), the law that Cornyn helped create.

The rule seeks to expand the BSCA’s definition of a person “engaged in the business as a dealer other than a gunsmith or pawnbroker” and “principal objective of livelihood and profit” given by the BSCA to include people who “predominantly earn a profit” from selling guns.

The “engaged in business” rule, as it is known, is set to take effect on May 20.

“Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the internet, at a gun show, or at a brick-and-mortar store: if you sell guns predominantly to earn a profit, you must be licensed, and you must conduct background checks,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “This regulation is a historic step in the Justice Department’s fight against gun violence. It will save lives.”

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Cornyn said he will file a congressional resolution of disapproval over the rule, and that to tie the policy to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is “an outright lie.”

“This rule has long been on Democrats’ wish list, and for the Biden administration to say it’s a result of our school safety and mental health law is a shameless attempt to hide their real goal: to take away the firearms of every law-abiding American,” Cornyn said in a joint statement with North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. “We will fight this unconstitutional rule tooth and nail, and look forward to overturning it in the Senate as soon as possible.”

Cornyn could be fighting the rule as a way to appeal to the most conservative wing of his party, as he has plans to become the next Senate majority or minority leader.

According to Randy Kozuch, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Republicans have criticized the rule by saying it will impose a gun control regime and coerce gun owners to “forego legal activity with firearms under threat of potential confiscation.” Others have falsely presented the rule as universal background checks even for people trying to sell their personal gun to a friend.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he and other state AGs have filed lawsuits challenging the rule.

According to the White House, there are over 80,000 licensed gun dealers in the country, while unlicensed sellers could be over 20,000. The new rule would require unlicensed sellers to conduct background checks.

Written by RA News staff.


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