Knudsen files lawsuit against Biden’s rule banning private gun sales

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen spearheaded a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s recent assault on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. This legal action marks the 45th lawsuit initiated by Attorney General Knudsen against the Biden administration.

The lawsuit challenges the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rule, titled “Definition of ‘Engaged in the Business’ as a Dealer in Firearms,” which threatens to criminalize law-abiding citizens for selling even a single firearm for profit without obtaining a federal license. Attorney General Knudsen asserted, “This is another attempt by the Biden administration to criminalize law-abiding Montanans for exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”

The contentious rule expands the definition of a “dealer” to include anyone who sells or offers firearms for sale, imposing civil, administrative, or criminal penalties on those who engage in such transactions without a federal license. Furthermore, it broadens the concept of profit to include non-monetary exchanges, potentially criminalizing innocent sales between friends and family members.

The lawsuit argues that the rule violates the Second Amendment by imposing undue burdens on individuals’ right to buy and sell firearms. It contends that the Biden administration failed to comply with constitutional requirements and disregarded established legal precedents, including the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n Inc. v. Bruen.

Moreover, the lawsuit challenges the rule’s arbitrary and capricious nature, asserting that it violates the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and undermines the Gun Control Act of 1968. Despite the ATF’s claim that the rule aligns with the GCA, it is argued that the rule strays from the statute’s intent and can lead to unintended consequences.

Attorneys general from various states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, and Virginia, joined the lawsuit co-led by Kansas and Iowa. This legal challenge follows Attorney General Knudsen’s previous efforts, including sending formal comments opposing the rule changes to the Biden administration in December.

By: Montana Newsroom staff