For nearly 11 months, firearms manufacturers and gun control advocates have been waiting for a major “ghost gun” regulation to pass through the federal regulatory process and move forward.
Meanwhile, every year since 2016, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the number of firearms in schools, makeshift factories and the growing number of crime scenes has increased because some state legislatures are working to secure them. He called the president “the most unregulated corner of the firearms industry.”
In the coming months, a measure is expected to be approved that would revise the federal definition of “firearm” to include unfinished gun parts, such as frames and receivers. The judiciary launched the proposal last May in an effort to stem the rise of so-called ghost guns – unrestrained, easily made firearms that can be ordered online. Ghost guns often come in kits and many can be assembled in an hour.
Gun control experts say the changed definition is aimed at disrupting a supply chain that has grown stronger over the past five years. The number of random (and thus uncontrolled) firearms seized by major metro police departments has risen sharply. In Philadelphia, local police seized 571 spooky guns in 2021, up from 13 in 2018. In New York City, police seized 375 ghost guns in 2021, compared to 48 in 2019, according to the city.
Baltimore Police Chief Michael Harrison, whose department confiscated nine ghost guns in 2018 compared to 352 in 2021, told a news conference in January, “I can spend hours telling stories about how these ghost guns hit our community and our streets. Made it insecure. ” .
According to the DOJ, from 2016 to 2020, law enforcement recovered about 23,906 suspected ghost guns from potential crime scenes. Without a serial number, it is often impossible for law enforcement agencies to track the whereabouts of individual guns.
John Fenblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, told ABC News ABC News: “There is no question that this regulation will close the market in the future.”
Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said in an interview that the regulation was “the single most significant change for manufacturers under the law, since the gun control law was enacted in 1968.”
So far, 10 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted legislation to disrupt the supply chain of ghost guns. Last year’s DOJ proposal came after several lawsuits from gun control lawyers and a letter from the attorney generals of 18 states urging U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to propose such a change.
“While states can close this gap within our own borders, we need federal action to establish a nationwide solution; even when states try to close this loophole, 80% of receivers can be easily purchased online, or smuggled into our state from other jurisdictions.” AG said in a letter.
This is in reference to the “80% rule” – that is, frames and receivers that are 80% complete are not technically considered firearms under the current rules and are not regulated by the Gun Control Act of 1968. They are invasive, can be followed online by those who are prohibited from buying a conventional firearm. The “80% receiver” often comes in kits with other parts needed to make a ghost gun. 3D printers can also make ghost gun parts.
Advocates for the firearms industry and gun control system expect the new rules to come up with possible amendments based on the nearly 300,000 comments received.
Exactly when it will come, of course, is in the sky.
In a statement to ABC News, the DOJ said the original agenda was listed for June 2022, but “we are working to finalize it as soon as possible.” Acting ATF Director Marvin Richardson also told a NSSF rally that the expected date was June.
However, Fenblatt, president of Everytown, told ABC News that the White House had announced that the regulations would come into effect in April.
Once finalized, the definition of “firearm” will be changed for the first time since the Gun Control Act of 1968.
“I would say this is the single most important thing that can be done about the issue of ghost guns,” said David Pucino, deputy chief councilor of Giffords, an organization that monitors and advances on gun control law and is founded by former Republican Gabriel Giffords. ABC News.
Puccino said his office has been monitoring ghost guns since 2017 in California, where the ghost guns first sprouted. Due to California’s strict gun control laws, he said, non-serial firearms have become increasingly popular.
“Somewhat distortedly, states that have strong gun laws are the most susceptible to ghost guns,” Puccino said. “Because the easiest way to follow all these rules.”
In the meantime, the proposed changes have been met with pushbacks from the firearms trade industry Keane, from the NSSF, said in an interview with ABC News that the proposed definition goes beyond the statutory authority of the ATF. Many new implementations, such as multiple or reprinted serial numbers of guns, a production overhaul and vague implementation details, exceed the ATF’s authority, he said.
Qin added that the 90-day period since the rule was enacted was too short for firearms manufacturers to comply with major changes to the law.
“So (the ATF) indicated that the (firearms) industry’s comments were helpful and forced them to think about things they didn’t consider or think about,” he said.
He hopes to see change from last year’s proposed changes. “We’ll see what the final rules say,” Kin added.
Crackdown on ghost guns is a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda to prevent gun violence.
During a trip to New York City following the deaths of two NYPD officers, he announced the creation of a National Ghost Song Enforcement Initiative with a strike force to crack down on illegal gun trafficking across state lines.
In the State of the Union, Biden raises the issue again.
“… We will do everything in our power to crack down on gun trafficking, ‘ghost guns’ that you can buy online, collect at home, have no serial number, cannot be traced,” he said.
Once the regulation is implemented, “it will cut the ghost gun from the source,” Pucino said.