President Barack Obama late Monday directed the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to require those selling guns, whether at a flea market or online, to register as a firearms dealer and to perform background checks on gun purchasers.
The chief executive’s announcement comes following a spate of mass shootings nationwide, and a month after the Senate voted against a measure that would have barred gun sales to people on federal terror watchlists. Another gun-control measure to expand background checks at gun shows, and for online purchases, also failed. Obama met Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and James Comey, the FBI director.
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks,” the White House said in a statement.
Federal law exempts a license requirement for those, like hobbyists, who sell guns occasionally. Private-party guns sales, which often occur online, have also largely been exempted. What exemptions would remain were not immediately stated. Obama’s order has not been finalized.