Gun Owners of America Secures Temporary Restraining Order Against ATF Background Check Rule

Background check for a gun purchase with a handgun - stock photo
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U.S. District Court Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk issued a temporary restraining order on May 19, 2024, against the ATF’s universal background check rule.

The case is State of Texas v. ATFwhich was brought by Texas, Gun Owners of America (GOA), and Gun Owners Foundation (GOF).

As a result of Kacsmaryk’s decision, the rule is now restrained from being enforced in the state of Texas or against members of GOA, GOF, the Virginia Citizens Defense League, and the Tennessee Firearms Association.

The temporary restraining order lasts until June 2, 2024, the date by which Texas, GOA, and GOF must file supplemental declarations and briefs.


Breitbart News reported the ATF’s announcement of the rule on August 31, 2023. The rule redefines what it means to be “engaged in the business of selling guns,” thereby expanding the instances in which an unlicensed seller — i.e., a private citizen — must use the NICS to sell or transfer a gun. As a result, it forces many private gun sellers to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to sell their guns.

The rule largely centers on guns being sold for “profit”; however, on pages 26-27 it equates “pecuniary gain” with “profit,” opening the door for the ATF to redefine the word “sale” so as to require a NICS check when a private seller is “bartering” over a gun.

On page 194 of the 466-page rule, the ATF makes clear that people who smuggle guns out of the country in order to sell them abroad now fall under the “dealer” category.

Once smugglers are officially labeled as dealers, they are required to perform all the duties that pertain to that categorization, and that includes NICS checks.

WATCH — AWR Hawkins: Universal Background Checks = Gun Registry


AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio, a pro-staffer for Pulsar Night Vision, the director of global marketing for Lone Star Hunts. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010 and holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Beef is his favorite vegetable. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at


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