Judge blocks Biden administration from closing 'gun show loophole' in Texas and 3 other states

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a federal rule in four states that requires people who sell firearms online and at gun shows to conduct background checks on their potential customers.

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a federal rule in four states that requires people who sell firearms online and at gun shows to conduct background checks on their potential customers. (Alex Wong, Getty Images via CNN Newsource)


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WASHINGTON — A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a federal rule in four states that requires people who sell firearms online and at gun shows to conduct background checks on their potential customers.

In a preliminary injunction issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives cannot enforce the rule intended to close the so-called gun show loophole in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Utah.

The injunction also temporarily prevents enforcement of the federal rule against several gun rights groups and an individual gun owner in Texas who are also part of the lawsuit.

Kacsmaryk, a former President Donald Trump-appointed conservative judge known for ruling against Biden administration policies, said in his 21-page ruling that the administration violated federal rulemaking procedures when it finalized the new rule earlier this year.

The new ATF rule, which took effect May 20, seeks to close what gun control advocates have long called the "gun show loophole" by increasing the requirements to obtain a federal firearms license. They more specifically define what it means to be "engaged in the business" of selling firearms.

By making the term more definitive, the Justice Department has said it aims to better regulate the market and encourage higher compliance with the federal background check requirement.

"Texas has secured an injunction against Biden's unlawful ATF rule that would criminalize the private sale of guns. Biden's unconstitutional rule cannot be enforced in Texas," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement Wednesday. "I'm proud to fight and win for our Second Amendment rights."

The judge previously blocked ATF from enforcing the rule against some of the plaintiffs while he considered whether to grant the preliminary injunction. The new block on the rule will last "pending the resolution of this lawsuit," Kacsmaryk said in his ruling.

CNN has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

More than a dozen other GOP-led states are also challenging the new rule in a separate lawsuit spearheaded by the attorney general of Kansas.

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Devan Cole

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