Schumer Calls on DOJ, ATF to Crack Down on ‘Ghost Guns’ (Gun Parts, Kits)

Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to crack down on “ghost guns.”

“I write to direct your immediate attention to a disturbing phenomenon of unmarked, unregistered and therefore untraceable firearms proliferating throughout the country,” says Schumer in a recent letter to Attorney General William Barr and Acting ATF Director Regina Lombardo.  

“These so-called ‘ghost guns’ pose a danger to public safety as they have the potential to end up in the hands of convicted criminals, domestic abusers, minors, and other individuals otherwise prohibited from purchasing handguns under existing federal law,” he continues.  

Calling it a “loophole,” the Democratic senator from New York wants the agencies to regulate “ghost guns,” what are in reality gun parts (and kits and 80 percent lowers), as firearms under the law.  In other words, all the same rules that apply to firearm possession, transfer, sale, purchase, etc. would also apply to gun parts.  

Specifically, Schumer is directing the ATF and DOJ to take the following steps: 

  • Amend the definition of “firearm frame or receiver” in 27 C.F.R. section 478.11 such that it applies to any part of a firearm which provides housing for the trigger group, including any such part (1) that is designed, intended, or marketed to be used in an assembled, operable firearm; or (2) that, without the expenditure of substantial time and effort, can be converted for use in an assembled, operable firearm.
  • Provide all available data on the frequency with which federal authorities are encountering these so-called ghost guns and efforts on the part of your respective agencies to collaborate with state and local law enforcement within 30 days. Should this information not be readily available, explain why and describe strategies on how to improve collaboration, monitoring and data collection.

The attack on gun parts is no different than the attack on black rifles or magazines of a certain capacity or ammo of a particular type when one thinks about it.  Politicians come up with a fear-inducing name for a certain class of weapons, ammo or accessory, in this case, “ghost guns,” and claim that for all intents and purposes, it’s an existential threat to humanity — regardless of what the Constitution and the facts and the data actually say.  

SEE ALSO: Court Rules No Compensation for Companies Forced to Destroy 75,000 Bump Stocks

Clearly it’s effective as there have been (Clinton-era AWB) and currently are, in some states, prohibitions on “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines” and “armor-piercing bullets.” The question is will gun parts be next?

At the state level, the usual suspects are making headway: California, Connecticut, New Jersey.  California requires homemade firearms to be registered with the state, and by 2024 will require all “firearm precursor parts” to be sold exclusively through an FFL.  Connecticut banned “undetectable” guns last year.  And New Jersey also prohibited guns or parts that are or can become “untraceable” in 2018.  

More states, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, will likely follow suit in the near future.  Whether or not the Trump administration takes on the matter remains to be seen.  While it may seem unlikely at the moment, particularly during an election year, it’s not out of the realm of possibility… remember bump stocks (which were at one point a “gun part” per ATF opinion letters but are now regulated as a machine gun)?  

Whatever happens, putting all this focus and attention on hardware is a distraction from the underlying problem — people. That is to say, the perpetrators of violence. Until we find an intelligent and effective way to handle troubled people, there will always be violence regardless of what gun laws are on the books.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jon May 20, 2020, 6:17 am

    It’s almost time to point out we ain’t going to let them take our anything and to kiss off !

    Tell them they need to go to more yoga not mess with exmilitary and the like !

  • MikeRoss February 22, 2020, 9:21 am

    Schumer wants the BATFE to “Amend the definition of “firearm frame or receiver.” That’s his f’ing job as a member of Congress, yet he’d rather rule by edict.

  • Jaque February 17, 2020, 9:01 am

    Tell me Mr Schumer how a home made firearm not registered is more lethal or is used more often in crimes than one manufactured and registered by a corporation.

    Tell me how a serial number and traceability by government has any influence on crime.

    Its all bullshit. Communist bullshit. More are killed with knives than ghost guns so why aren’t you calling for knives to be registered with serial numbers.

    Schumer and his comrades are demanding controls on a individual right the constitution orders the government – Hands Off our guns.

    Until the government treats the 2nd Amendment like it does the 1st, the people must resist. If gun owners banded together and fought like the civil rights movement did in the 60s we would win. And gun ownership is a Civil Right.

  • Scotty Gunn February 15, 2020, 3:10 pm

    Didn’t the Left want to give gun rights back to felons? Plus voting rights of course. Yet now they are concerned that they might by chance get a ghost gun?

  • Easy Eddie February 14, 2020, 2:25 pm

    Give Schumer enough time and he’ll be coming for our spud guns. In fact, I believe NYC already bans them…and probably limits purchase of potatoes to no more than a 5 pound bag at a time.

  • Richard February 14, 2020, 12:27 pm

    Here we go again. In the age of affordable CNC machining I suppose that raw blocks of steel and aluminum should be outlawed as well, for they too can become untraceable firearms. Perhaps the ATF should man all hardware stores to prevent assembly of ghost zip guns too. This blowhard puts the DUMB in DUMBOCRAT.

    • Scotty Gunn February 15, 2020, 3:12 pm

      Soda cans. Watch the You Tube video where the guy melts down soda cans and molds a rough receiver then mills and machines it into a ar-15 lower. He has amazing skills, but it shows that you can not ban the ar, it’s too easy to make.

  • Clint W. February 14, 2020, 10:37 am

    OK, this would be considered a racist question by liberal colleges and the media, but I think it is a valid one. If you are a follower of the Jewish faith, attend synagogue, do your best to live to your faith, you probably also know alot about how historically, everybody has hated and in some countries continue to hate you. The most recent big time event, being the Holocaust where your members made up 6 million victims in the 20+ million killed. One of the very first things the regime in that era did in the Deutschland, was confiscate all the guns. Why are Jews in the United States so focused on doing the same thing? I would think, of all the groups in this country, you would be the most adamant about the right to own a firearm, especially one that is an excellent defense weapon such as those built on the AR platform. For those who read this that are not Jewish, you do realize that every country who has ever gone against the Israelites, has eventually paid the price, I believe the warning in the Old Testament is true. In referring to the Israelites, the Lord say that anybody that is with them will be rewarded, and any of them against them will perish. For 5000 years at least, that has been true. So Schumer, why are you such a supporter of one of the 1930’s German policies that sent your faith to the gas chamber?

  • kb31416 February 14, 2020, 8:57 am

    I liked my ghost G19 so much that I made a ghost AR9 to keep it company.
    Maybe in honor of the good senator I might have to dust off the router this weekend and convert another paper weight.

  • Vic February 14, 2020, 8:24 am

    … remember bump stocks (which were at one point a “gun part” per ATF opinion letters but are now regulated as a machine gun)?
    JUST WAIT UNTIL CITIZEN BECOMES THE SUBJECT TO HIS HIGHNESS SHUMER…

  • thomas jefferson February 14, 2020, 7:03 am

    Schlumer = TRAITOR to his oath of office and TRAITOR to the Constitution. Schlumer IS a TYRANT. Time to water the tree of Liberty.

  • Will Drider February 14, 2020, 3:16 am

    Senator shit show schum can request information but as a single senator in the Senate minority: he can’t direct changes in the Law nor how the BATFE executes its assigned oversight responsibilities. He’s just trying to look like he is doing “something” the dem/liberal voters may consider as “action” since there’s nothing to show for three years of RESIST, OBSTRUCT, FIGHT and IMPEACH!

  • CharlieKing1 February 13, 2020, 8:37 pm

    Someone please tell me how a member of the legislative branch can demand anything from an executive branch agency? Chuck U, please just stop with the demagoguery…

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