Biden Administration’s “New” Rule is Not New

posted on January 11, 2022
courtesy the NSSF

The Biden administration recently made a big deal out of a new U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) mandate supposedly concerning firearms safety. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that firearm retailers must now sell firearm-storage devices. These devices include locks and gun safes, gun cases and lock boxes, and other devices designed to be unlocked by a combination, a key, or other similar means.

As The Washington Times noted, the DOJ “submitted the rule to the Federal Register. If approved, the change will amend the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ gun regulations and go into effect on Feb. 3, [2022].”

“Today’s announcements build on the department’s efforts to reduce the risk of firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Garland in a DOJ press release. “Gun safety is a Department of Justice priority, and we will continue to take all appropriate steps to help reduce the number of people killed and injured by the misuse of firearms.”

The thing is, securing firearms with locks and safes and similar devices for added safety is a great idea! In fact, the NRA and the firearms industry have been leading proponents of keeping firearms safe, secure, and out of the wrong hands for a long time. The Biden administration is trying to take credit for what has already been in place for many, many years, without giving the firearms industry and organizations like the NRA credit for the important work they’ve done in this area.

Keeping firearms secured (when not in use) has been a key component of NRA firearms training for decades. As the NRA’s Gun Safety Rules web page explains: “Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons. Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns. A person’s particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Dozens of gun-storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available. However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun-safety rules.”

And while it doesn’t involve gun locks in a literal sense, the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe program is the nation’s top gun-accident-prevention program for children. Over the last three decades, the Eddie Eagle GunSafe program has taught over 32 million children how to stay safe if they ever find a gun, by following these simple instructions: 


Don’t Touch

Run Away

Tell a Grown Up.

Meanwhile, the firearms industry itself, from manufacturers to retailers, has done a great deal to help gun owners secure their firearms. As Larry Keane, Vice President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), said in a written rebuttal to the new DOJ rule, “Firearm retailers have had to certify to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) when they apply or reapply for their federal firearm license that they make secure storage devices available for sale. This rule handed down by Attorney General Garland only implements what’s already being done. This is nothing new or earth shattering, despite what the Biden administration would have you think.”

As Keane noted, it is simply good business for retailers selling firearms to offer safety products because customers want them and need them.

“Since 1997, firearm manufacturers have been voluntarily providing free locking devices with each new firearm they ship from their factory,” said Keane. “That’s a lock in the box of every new gun. Some manufacturers had already been providing free locks for decades… . The bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), that President Joe Biden wants so desperately to scrap, includes a provision called the ‘Child Safety Lock Act of 2005.’ That portion of the law requires firearm retailers to provide a safety locking device with each handgun they transfer.”

Nice try, Biden administration, but with the country more opposed than ever to additional gun-control measures, the best the Biden administration can apparently do is to promote ideas the NRA and the shooting-sports industry have embraced for decades without giving any due credit. The use of the DOJ’s “new rule” approach appears to be nothing more than an attempt to suggest these measures were not already the norm!


Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr.
Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr.

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