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Gun Background Check Expansion

The Department of Justice expanded the definition of who counts as a firearms dealer and must conduct background checks in the US yesterday as part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The legislation was passed in the aftermath of the 2022 Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, Texas. 

The country's 80,000 licensed dealers must conduct background checks on buyers to determine if they are prohibited from gun possession for past crimes and more (see restrictions). Previously, dealers were defined as those who earned their primary income from sales, while the new rule includes anyone who sells guns primarily to earn a profit, which will include an estimated 20,000 sellers dealing online, at gun shows, or privately. Gun rights groups are expected to challenge the law. 

Researchers say there's moderate evidence background checks reduce gun homicide rates. Out of 40 million such checks in 2021, roughly 150,000 were denied. Nearly 68,000 illegally trafficked firearms were sold via unlicensed dealers between 2017 and 2021. 

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