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    Republicans sound alarm after Biden rule shuts down gun show in Montana

    By Cami Mondeaux,


    Republican lawmakers are seeking ways to overturn a Biden administration rule aimed toward cracking down on so-called gun show loopholes after the new mandate was used to cancel a gun show in Montana last month.

    The gun show in Hamilton, Montana, was canceled in response to the new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives rule, which took effect on May 20 and requires vendors selling guns to be federally licensed and to conduct background checks — rules that are typically not enforced at gun shows.

    The canceled event, which was supposed to take place on the weekend of May 17 to May 19 , raised alarm bells for some Republican lawmakers who warned the new rule could be used as a catalyst for the Biden administration to restrict gun laws unilaterally.

    “I think what people really need to understand is that the language is very subjective. It grants more authority to the ATF,” Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) told the Washington Examiner. “And everyone should be concerned about that. The fact that we just had a gun show canceled, and specifically because of the uncertainties and possible criminal liabilities created by the new regulation, now we're not speaking about theory anymore. We're talking about the harsh realities, that this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

    GOP lawmakers in both the House and Senate have long vowed to challenge the ATF rule, but the canceled gun show in Montana has sparked a new sense of urgency among several of these Republicans.

    There are two coinciding efforts in both chambers to overturn the rule through the Congressional Review Act, an obscure procedure that allows lawmakers to overturn final rules issued by federal agencies. The method is rarely successful, only overturning a handful of rules since its inception in 1996.

    House Republicans have repeatedly used the tool under the Biden administration since taking the majority last year, introducing more than half a dozen this Congress. President Joe Biden has vetoed more than nine CRAs during his time in the White House while signing into law three rules repealed under his administration.

    Now, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), who is leading the effort in the House , has called on lawmakers to back his measure to avoid future cancellations “and additional trampling of Americans’ Second Amendment liberties.”

    “Unfortunately, we’re already seeing the dire consequences of the ATF’s ‘engaged in the business’ rule,” Clyde told the Washington Examiner. “This measure marks President Biden’s latest attempt to institute universal background checks — which I’ve long warned will eventually lead to a nationwide firearms registry and subsequent gun confiscation.”

    The resolution has received support from GOP leadership, with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) telling the Washington Examiner the rule is an example of the Biden administration “weaponizing the administrative state against law-abiding American citizens.”

    “[Biden’s] continued attacks on the Second Amendment, this time to restrict Americans’ ability to buy and sell firearms to each other, undermines our constitutional rights,” he said. “House Republicans will continue to fight for law-abiding gun owners and push back against these attacks on the Second Amendment.”

    A similar effort is being worked through in the Senate by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and 43 other Republicans to overthrow the rule. However, that effort is likely to be stonewalled by the Democratic majority, meaning passage in the House could be crucial for the legislation to be sent to Biden’s desk.

    Under congressional rules , if a CRA joint resolution passes the House, Republican senators could force consideration of the measure through a discharge petition, which, if successful, would send the legislation to Biden for consideration.

    Even then, Biden could veto the CRA should it reach his desk. As a result, some lawmakers such as Rosendale acknowledged overturning the rule may not be possible during this Congress, suggesting future efforts under a possible Trump administration next year.

    “I think that it is going to end up being punted into the next administration,” Rosendale said. “I don't have confidence in anything that this administration does.”

    Some state officials have also opposed the new rule , with a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocking the Biden administration from enforcing the mandate pending a challenge from Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton last month.

    “I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect,” Paxton said in a statement . The challenge to the ATF measure was also joined by the Gun Owners of America, a pro-Second Amendment group.


    Officials in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah also signed on to the lawsuit, but the temporary restraining order does not apply to other states.

    The Washington Examiner contacted a spokesperson for ATF about pushback to its rule.

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