In a Victory for Gun Safety, the ATF Issued its Proposed Rule to Eliminate the Market for Deadly, Untraceable Ghost Guns
WASHINGTON –– Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements after President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice, through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), issued a proposed rule to stop the proliferation of deadly, untraceable ghost guns –– a move that Everytown first called for in December 2020. Issuing the proposed rule makes good on the promise President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland made when they announced gun safety executive actions last month. The proposed rule will effectively stop the proliferation of ghost guns by strengthening the regulation over frames, receivers, and ghost gun “kits”, therefore requiring that the core parts for ghost guns be sold with a serial number and (if the gun is being sold by a licensed gun dealer) a background check. The proposed rule will now go to a comment period, in which the public can submit comments on it for 90 days before the ATF publishes a final rule.
“President Biden pledged last month to treat gun violence like an American epidemic, and the rule announced today is further proof that he’s doing exactly that,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Ghost guns allow anyone, anywhere to easily obtain an untraceable firearm, and the Biden-Harris administration’s decision to regulate them like the deadly weapons they are will save countless lives.”
“This proposed rule is a huge win for public safety and a huge loss for any criminals or extremists who wanted to buy untraceable guns with no background check and no questions asked,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Ghost guns may be the scariest and fastest growing gun safety threat in the country, allowing anyone to make an untraceable weapon in less than an hour. Stopping the proliferation of these guns will save lives, and the President’s swift and decisive action on this is further proof of his commitment to building the strongest gun safety administration in history.”
Ghost guns –– untraceable, do-it-yourself firearms made from parts available without a background check –– have been one of the fastest-growing threats to public safety in the country: In 2019 alone, some 10,000 ghost guns were recovered in the U.S., according to an ATF estimate. In a report released last May, the Everytown Support Fund examined a sample of 80 online ghost gun part sellers and more than 100 federal prosecutions involving ghost guns, finding that ghost guns are easier to buy than ever before and are frequently possessed by those prohibited from owning firearms, tied to criminal activity, and used by white supremacists, convicted felons, and minors. Everytown Law first urged ATF to address the growing menace of unregulated ghost guns in a petition for rulemaking filed back in December 2019, and followed that up with a lawsuit against ATF filed in August 2020, brought on behalf of Everytown as well as Syracuse, NY; San Jose, CA; Chicago, IL; and Columbia, SC.
This is the strongest gun safety administration in history, as evidenced by President Biden’s historic executive actions to address gun violence, his long record of taking on the NRA and passing life-saving laws, Vice President Kamala Harris’ years of gun safety advocacy, and the unmatched gun sense cabinet they have built in recent months.