Pres. Joe Biden’s administration will reportedly reveal their long-awaited ghost gun rule, which will likely be targeting privately made firearms that do not have serial numbers and that are showing at crime scenes more and more, according to what three people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The said policy’s completion comes following the growing pressure put upon the White House and the Justice Department to crack down on gun-related deaths and violent crimes happening in the country.
The White House has also been reportedly considering naming former U.S attorney Steve Dettelbach from Ohio to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Bide needed to withdraw the nomination for his first pick, David Chipman, a gun-control advocate, after his nomination stalled for a while due to Republicans and a few Democrats in the Senate opposing his confirmation.
The said rule has been going through the federal regulation process for almost a year. Gun safety groups and Democratic members in Congress have been pushing for the Department of Justice to complete the rule for months. Gun groups will probably oppose it, making it draw litigation in the next few weeks.
The specific timing of the Biden administration’s announcement is yet to be scheduled, according to the sources.
On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) begged the administration to move faster.
He said: “It’s high time for a ghost gun exorcism before the proliferation peaks and before more people get hurt — or worse. My message is a simple one: No more waiting on these proposed federal rules.” Ghost guns are “too easy to build, too hard to trace, and too dangerous to ignore.”
According to the Department of Justice statistics, law enforcement recovered almost 24,000 ghost guns at crime scenes and reported them to the government between 2016 and 2020. It’s difficult to estimate how many of these guns are circulating on the streets, partly due to many instances that the police department chooses not to contact the government regarding the guns since they can’t be traced.
The rule would change the current definition of a firearm under federal law. The new definition would include unfinished parts, similar to the frame of a handgun or a long gun’s receiver.
In the ATF’s proposed rule from last May, the agency mentioned that it was also looking to make it a requirement for manufacturers and dealers selling ghost gun parts to be licensed by the federal government. It was also looking to require those who are already federally licensed to add a serial number to any guns without one they are planning to sell.
The said rule would also make it a requirement for dealers to run background checks before selling ghost gun kits with parts needed to create a firearm.
Federal officials, for years, have been sounding the alarm about a black market for DIY, military-style handguns and semi-automatic rifles. Ghost guns have been showing up at more crime scenes, while federal agents have also encountered such guns during undercover operations connected to gangs and other criminals.
In some states, such as California, laws have been enforced in recent years, requiring serial numbers to be stamped on ghost guns.
The most crucial component needed in building an untraceable gun is the low receiver, a part usually made of metal or polymer. People can purchase an unfinished receiver – also known as an “80-percent receiver – online, without any serial numbers or other markings, and without any license required.