On Monday, the Justice Department announced steps to regulate the flow of “ghost guns,” ranging from serial number requirements and background checks for buyers to executive actions. Rep. Richie Torres (D-NY) is looking to take this initiative one step further through Congress.
According to the New York Daily News, Torres plans to introduce legislation to allow private parties to sue manufacturers of ghost gun parts after shootings. Traditionally, gun legislation often meets an uphill battle getting passed into law. Still, the Bronx representative hopes that the danger ghost guns pose to children pushes Congress into action.
“We know the Republican Party has obstructed every attempt at gun safety,” Torres told the Daily News. “Having said that, it’s not entirely clear to me where every Republican stands on ghost gun regulation.”
“There’s a particularly powerful case for removing the civil liability shield on ghost gun manufacturers because ghost guns pose a particular threat to children,” Torres added. “There’s an aggravating factor here.”
In October 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation making the sale of ghost guns illegal and prohibiting possession of unfinished gun frames to those outside the gun industry. The Rockefeller Institute notes New York recovered 220 ghost guns in 2020 compared to 72 in 2019. Recently, a 16-year-old south Bronx teen was killed, and two others were wounded with what is reported to be a ghost gun.
Torres claims that ghost gun makers exploit loopholes in federal law to escape liability.
“The gun manufacturers behind the ghost gun surge have blood on their hands,” Torres said. “I welcome the new rule from the Justice Department. But in the end, there’s no substitute for a congressional statute.”