Attorney General Bonta Stands Strong in the United Fight Against Illegal Gun Trafficking

Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Attorney General Bonta joins coalition of 21 attorneys general backing ATF rule to limit unlicensed gun sales 

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta, as part of a coalition of 21 attorneys general, submitted a comment letter in support of a proposed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rule that would ensure more firearms sales are subject to background checks and reduce illegal firearms trafficking. Following the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the ATF has proposed a new regulation to clarify what it means for a person to be “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms, and therefore required to obtain a license and run background checks when selling firearms. The proposed rule would close loopholes that allowed the unlicensed sale of firearms, including online and at gun shows. 

 “The suggested regulation represents a significant step forward in our fight against gun violence by regulating profit-oriented dealers engaged in firearm sales, ensuring that they are accountable for obtaining licenses, undergoing background checks, maintaining records, and meeting other obligations,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Unregulated firearms transactions increase the likelihood that individuals who are prohibited from legally acquiring guns will obtain them, posing a threat to communities and contributing to the prevalence of gun-related violence." 

 The ATF’s proposed rule will crack down on unlicensed, profit-oriented firearms sellers and reduce the number of firearms sold without a background check by ensuring more individuals who sell firearms are subject to federal licensing and background check requirements. Vendors operating at gun shows and online would be subject to the regulation in more instances, reducing opportunities for firearms sales without background checks. The new regulations will also help local and state law enforcement officials track firearms sales and provide them with more tools to effectively inspect firearms dealers, trace firearms used in crimes, prosecute gun charges, and help keep the communities they serve safe.

Attorney General Bonta stands with partners throughout the state to continue tackling the issue of gun violence strategically and aggressively by:

Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia in filing the brief.

A copy of the comment letter can be found here. 




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