“Ghost guns” are weapons that can be assembled from parts that lack traceable serial numbers. ATF notes that 20,000 suspected ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement during criminal investigations last year. In New York City alone, the NYPD has recovered 131 ghost guns from January 1 until now, a stated 351 percent increase over 2021.
The Gun Violence Archive says there have been over 100 mass shootings alone in 2022. Any hope of comprehensive gun reform doesn’t seem like it will happen anytime soon. However, as many call for more action, CNN reports the Biden administration is prepared to take steps to address this issue.
The new rules would not ban gun kits themselves or strengthen penalties for crimes committed with ghost guns, but they come with some regulations. Federal rules announced today would require kit makers and resellers to include a serial number on the weapons – including 3-D printing kits. Commercial sellers who stock the kits must also receive a federal license and run background checks on potential buyers.
Previously, the Justice Department launched a “ghost gun” initiative to “train a national cadre of prosecutors and disseminate investigation and prosecution tools to help bring cases against those who use ghost guns to commit crimes.” Gun rights advocates such as the director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America, Aidan Johnston, spoke about the proposed regulations in a statement on Sunday. “Biden’s proposal to create a comprehensive national gun registry and end the online sale of gun parts without the passage of a new law exemplifies his disregard for the Second Amendment.”
President Biden is also nominating Obama-era U.S. attorney from Ohio Steve Dettelbach to serve as the new director of ATF. Biden was forced to withdraw his previous nominee, David Chipman because they did not have the votes in the Senate. Only one nominee since 2006, former U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones, has been confirmed.
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“We will be working hard to ensure that Steve Dettelbach receives the fair hearing and confirmation that he deserves. He should be a noncontroversial candidate because he has a long record of working in law enforcement and for the public safety of the people of Ohio and the American people,” one of the officials said.