Attorneys General from 18 states are calling on the U.S. Dept. of Justice to close what they call the “ghost gun loophole.”
In a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the coalition asked the agency “to expedite new rulemaking from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recognizing that the federal Gun Control Act requires unfinished frames and receivers to be treated the same as fully-finished frames and receivers so that we can put an end to the alarming rise of ghost guns in our communities.”
A “ghost gun” is anti-gun nomenclature for perfectly legal, build-it-yourself gun kits and parts, including (unfinished) lower receivers.
The goal is to have President Biden, via executive action, require the ATF to rewrite the law to insist that pieces of metal and polymer are the same as fully functioning firearms.
If enacted, companies that sell such products would need to be federally licensed and buyers who purchase those items would need to undergo a background check.
“Ghost guns are quickly becoming the weapon of choice for criminals and fueling the gun violence epidemic. These DIY gun kits should be subject to the same background checks and qualifications as fully functioning firearms to prevent criminals who are not legally able to purchase or possess guns from getting their hands on these deadly, untraceable weapons,” said Attorney General Shapiro, who led the coalition, in a press release.
Political pressure is mounting on “Ghost Guns.” This letter from the attorneys general comes on the heels of a similar call to action last week from three U.S. Senators, Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
The trio, in their own missive dated March 9, 2021, asked President Biden to “take executive action to keep unserialized and untraceable firearms known as ‘ghost guns’ off our streets.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated Wednesday that the Biden administration is currently mulling its options.
“He sees it vital to take steps on two tracks because congressional legislation, as the vice president conveyed this morning, obviously has a more permanent, lasting impact,” said Psaki with respect to the expanded background check bills the House passed and the Senate is now considering.
“Executive actions are of course an important lever that every president has at their disposal,” she continued. “There are current discussions and analyses internally of what steps can be taken. That has been ongoing for several weeks, even before these two recent tragedies, that he looks forward to getting an update on and seeing what can be moved forward on that front as well. It’s an ongoing policy process internally.”
Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, criticized this latest effort to regulate gun kits and parts.
“What these anti-gun rights attorney generals are attempting to do is make the Second Amendment the ‘ghost’ amendment,” Gottlieb said in an email to GunsAmerica.
“It has been a long-established American tradition that you have a right to make your own firearm,” he added. “Prohibited criminals who break the law making a gun can be prosecuted under current law. The rest of us should not be punished for exercising our civil and constitutional rights.”
Stay tuned for updates.