Biden Administration Closing 'Gun Show Loophole'

Customers shop for handguns at the Des Moines Fairgrounds Gun Show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, US March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Customers shop for handguns at the Des Moines Fairgrounds Gun Show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, US March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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Biden Administration Closing 'Gun Show Loophole'

Customers shop for handguns at the Des Moines Fairgrounds Gun Show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, US March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Customers shop for handguns at the Des Moines Fairgrounds Gun Show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, US March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

The White House announced a crackdown on firearms sales at gun shows and over the internet that evade US federal background checks.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who heads the White House Office on Gun Violence Prevention, told reporters the move addresses the so-called "gun show loophole."

"Currently, gun stores are required by law to conduct a background check for every gun sale," Harris said.

"But for decades, many dealers who sell weapons someplace other than the traditional gun store... have gotten away without conducting background checks," she said.

"All gun dealers now must conduct background checks, no matter where or how they sell their merchandise."

Gun violence is common in the United States, a country where there are more firearms than people. Attempts to clamp down on gun rights are always met with stiff political resistance.

Harris said thousands of unlicensed dealers sell tens of thousands of guns a year without conducting background checks.

Among those who have been able to purchase firearms through the "gun show loophole" are domestic abusers and violent felons, she said.

"Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the internet, at a gun show, or at a brick-and-mortar store," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

"If you sell guns predominantly to earn a profit, you must be licensed, and you must conduct background checks," Garland said.

A senior White House official said the Biden administration expects the move will be challenged in court by gun rights groups.

"All of the major actions that the president has taken to reduce gun violence have been challenged," the official said. "And in court after court, the actions are frequently being upheld.

"We have confidence that this is legal."



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.