Last updated on: 5/16/2024 | Author:

Should the U.S. Government Close the “Gun Show Loophole”?

The “gun show loophole” is a regulatory hole in the background checks law that has historically allowed gun sellers to operate at gun shows and online without licenses and without performing the federal background checks required of gun shop sales. The Biden administration closed the loophole in Apr. 2024, to the chagrin of many gun rights activists. For more on gun control laws, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)


Joe Biden:

“I’ve spent hours with families who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence. They all have the same message: ‘Do something.’ Today, my Administration is taking action to make sure fewer guns are sold without background checks. This is going to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons. And my Administration is going to continue to do everything we possibly can to save lives. Congress needs to finish the job and pass universal background checks legislation now.”

Editors’ Note: The Justice Department announced a new rule on Apr. 11, 2024, that will require everyone who is “engaged in the business” of selling guns to obtain a license to do so and to run background checks on the buyers. The rule is expected to impact about 23,000 unlicensed dealers and closes the “gun show loophole,” which allowed people to sell guns at shows and online marketplaces without licenses or performing background checks on buyers.


White House, “Fact Sheet: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces New Action to Implement Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Expanding Firearm Background Checks to Fight Gun Crime,”, Apr. 11, 2024

Source for Editors’ Note: Office of Public Affairs U.S. Department of Justice, “Justice Department Publishes New Rule to Update Definition of “Engaged in the Business” as a Firearms Dealer,”, Apr. 10, 2024

CON (no)

Not Clear or Not Found

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

No position as of Apr. 30, 2024.

Donald Trump:

“I prefer, oh, I have an appetite for background checks. We’re going to be doing background checks. We’re working with Democrats. We’re working with Republicans. We already have very strong background checks but we’re going to be filling in some of the loopholes, as we call them, at the border. And speaking about at the border it would be really nice if the Democrats would indeed fix the loopholes because it would be really nice. But despite that, I want to thank Mexico. They have 26,000 soldiers at our border. They’re really stopping people from coming in.

So what happens is with background checks, we’re dealing with Democrats, we’re dealing with Republicans, we’re dealing with the NRA, we’re dealing with gun owners, we’re dealing with everybody. And I think we’re going to have something hopefully that’s meaningful. No, I didn’t say anything about that we had a great talk with Wayne [LaPierre, then CEO of the NRA] yesterday [and I] didn’t say anything about that. We just talked about concepts. Wayne agrees things have to be done also and we have areas where we can close….

We have a lot of we have a lot of background checks right now. Gun owners can tell you that, others can tell you that. But there are certain weaknesses. We want to fix the weaknesses and I think that will happen. Let’s see what happens. I’m concerned that no matter what we agreed to, when we get there I’m concerned the Democrats will say ‘oh well we now want this that we want’ and you know too slippery slope and that’s what actually your gun owners and a lot of other people are concerned with but assuming that that’s not going to take place by the Democrats, assuming they really want to get this done we can get it done.”


MSNBC, “President Donald Trump Wants To ‘Fix The Loopholes’ In Background Checks For Guns | MSNBC,”, Aug. 21, 2019