EXPLAINER: What are ghost guns and why is Biden taking action?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is unveiling a accomplished rule geared toward reining within the proliferation of ghost guns, firearms with out serial numbers which were turning up at crime scenes throughout the nation in growing numbers.

The White Home and the Justice Division argue that regulating the firearms elements and requiring sellers to stamp serial numbers on ghost guns will assist drive down violent crime and assist investigators in fixing crimes. Gun teams, nonetheless, argue that the federal government is overreaching and that its rule violates federal legislation.

Right here’s a have a look at ghost guns and the talk brewing within the U.S.


They are privately-made firearms with out serial numbers.

Usually, firearms manufactured by licensed firms are required to have serial numbers – often displayed on the body of the gun – that enable officers to hint the gun again to the producer, the firearms seller and the unique purchaser.

Ghost guns, nonetheless, are fabricated from elements and are then assembled collectively. The vital part in constructing an untraceable gun is what is generally known as the decrease receiver. Some are bought in do-it-yourself kits and the receivers are usually produced from metallic or polymer.

An unfinished receiver — typically known as an “80-percent receiver” — may be legally purchased on-line with no serial numbers or different markings on it, no license required. Underneath the present guidelines, the federal authorities doesn’t think about unfinished decrease receivers to be firearms.


It adjustments the definition of a firearm and would require federal firearms sellers so as to add serial numbers to ghost guns that come their approach.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has, for years, mentioned that unfinished decrease receivers don’t meet the authorized definition of a firearm. And there is nothing unlawful about constructing your personal firearm.

It’s authorized to make your personal firearm if it’s on your private use and you don’t intend to promote it. However when you open a enterprise promoting guns, you want a federal firearms license.

Underneath the brand new rule, the definition of a firearm would change to incorporate unfinished elements, just like the body of a handgun or the receiver of an extended gun. The rule additionally would require these elements to be licensed and embody serial numbers. Sellers would additionally have to run background checks earlier than a sale — similar to they do with different commercially made firearms.

The requirement applies no matter how the firearm was made, that means it consists of ghost guns produced from particular person elements, kits, or by 3D-printers.

It additionally will compel federally licensed sellers and gunsmiths who absorb firearms with out serial numbers so as to add serial numbers. Which means, for instance, if somebody sells a ghost gun to a pawn dealer – or different licensed seller – the seller should put a serial quantity on it earlier than promoting the gun to another person.


Ghost guns aren’t new. However they are turning into a rising downside for legislation enforcement businesses throughout the U.S.

Federal officers have been sounding the alarm concerning the rising black marketplace for home made, military-style semi-automatic rifles and handguns. And guns with out serial numbers have been turning up extra continuously at crime scenes. They’ve additionally been more and more encountered when federal brokers purchase guns in undercover operations from gang members and different criminals.

Ghost guns actually popped into the general public consciousness in 2013 when a gunman, John Zawahri, opened fireplace on the campus of Santa Monica Faculty in California. Six individuals had been killed, together with Zawahri’s father and brother. The suspect had assembled an AR-15 after failing a background examine at a gun seller.

A gunman who killed his spouse and 4 others in Northern California in 2017 had been prohibited from proudly owning firearms, however he constructed his personal to skirt the courtroom order earlier than his rampage. And in 2019, a young person used a home made handgun to fatally shoot two classmates and wound three others at a faculty in suburban Los Angeles.

The sale of ghost guns has exploded since then. It is exhausting to say what number of are circulating on the streets, partly as a result of in lots of circumstances police departments don’t contact the federal government concerning the guns as a result of they will’t be traced.

Justice Division statistics present that just about 24,000 ghost guns had been recovered by legislation enforcement at crime scenes and reported to the federal government from 2016 to 2020. The New York Police Division mentioned officers discovered 131 firearms with out serial numbers since January.


The Justice Division mentioned the rule goes into impact 120 days from the date of publication within the Federal Register. Nevertheless it’s possible the rule shall be met with heavy resistance from gun teams and draw litigation within the coming weeks. Even reaching the purpose of introducing a rule has taken greater than a 12 months. Biden introduced plans to impose tighter laws on ghost guns in April 2021.

Gun House owners of America vowed that it might instantly struggle the rule and that it might sue the ATF “to halt the implementation of this rule.”

Supply hyperlink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.