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), formally published its proposed rule to stop the proliferation of deadly, untraceable ghost guns in the Federal Register, beginning a 90 day comment period before the ATF publishes a final rule.
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.
“Today’s rule is more proof that President Biden is delivering on his pledge to treat gun violence like the American epidemic it is,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Ghost guns allow anyone, anywhere to easily obtain an untraceable firearm. The Biden-Harris administration’s decision to regulate them like the deadly weapons they are will save countless lives, and is in stark contrast to the reckless approach we’ve seen in the past.”
“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,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “The proposed rule to stop the proliferation of these guns 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. President Biden’s decisive action will save lives.”
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. Last week, Everytown’s Managing Director for Law & Policy, Nick Suplina, testified at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the danger ghost guns pose.
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.