The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) is looking for plaintiffs in a planned lawsuit in Alabama to challenge the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rule defining who qualifies as a firearms dealer.

The lawsuit intends to challenge the ATF's "engaged in the business" designation, which gives a strict definition of who classifies as a gun "dealer," severely limiting who can sell a personal firearm.

Critics of the rule claim it constitutes overreach on the part of the ATF and could lead to the prosecution of collectors and others who might violate the allegedly incoherent and overly stringent restrictions.

"The [Biden] administration's explicit objective was to move as close to so-called 'universal background checks' for firearm sales as possible," NRA-ILA said. "Aiding in this effort was 2022's lamentable (and misnamed) Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which made a subtle change to the underlying standards for when a person is "engaged in the business" of dealing in firearms and therefore required to be federally licensed. Licensees, in turn, must run background checks when making sales to unlicensed buyers. The BSCA's removal of a single word from a federal statute has now resulted in a 466-page monstrosity of a rule that redefines what it means to be a firearm "dealer" and threatens to turn untold thousands of upstanding citizens into criminals for exercising their constitutional rights."

 To fight the allegedly overreaching rule, NRA-ILA is seeking Alabama plaintiffs who meet the criteria affected by the rule. 

The plaintiffs are required to meet the following criteria:

  • A private individual (1) who occasionally sells, exchanges, or purchases firearms for the enhancement of a private collection or for a hobby; (2) whose collection is for self-defense purposes, at least in part; and (3) who does not hold a Federal Firearms License. In other words, an individual who occasionally buys, sells, and/or resells firearms in private transactions, including as part of his or her self-defense collection. These private transactions can occur at gun shows, gun ranges/clubs, local markets, at home, or over the Internet.

  • An organization that hosts or organizes events where private individuals come to engage in private transactions of firearms, who fears that the Final Rule will decrease attendance at its events and, thus, its revenues.

"In typical fashion, the anti-gun Biden Administration has treated the law as a mandate to pursue the firearm prohibition movement's longstanding aspiration to ban private gun sales," NRA-ILA continued. "Channeling sales through the network of federally licensed dealers ensures that there is a paper trail of privately-owned guns. Proponents of this policy claim it will promote public safety by allowing police to trace the origins of guns recovered from crime scenes. But the government's own data shows that violent criminals either avoid the background check requirement, through measures such as theft or black-market sales, or they use "straw buyers" to purchase guns from dealers on their behalf.

"Forcing law-abiding gun owners to go through a dealer to sell a gun to a trusted neighbor or co-worker won't change this, but it will put more lawfully owned guns "on paper," a prerequisite to any future scheme of large-scale registration and confiscation, whenever guns are retroactively banned." 

NRA-ILA is asking all applicable plaintiffs to contact Rachel Sams at or call 571-512-1668.

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