The new federal rule will prevent the spread and sale of untraceable, homemade "ghost guns," which have become popular for gun traffickers and prohibited purchasers seeking firearms for criminal activity
Washington, D.C., July 8, 2022 - This week, Brady, March for Our Lives, and Everytown for Gun Safety jointly filed an amicus brief in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Division 80 LLC v. Garland, a case challenging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rule on ghost guns. This new rule will prevent the spread and sale of these dangerous weapons, which have become popular for gun traffickers and prohibited purchasers seeking firearms for criminal activity. The full brief can be found here.
The brief argues that rather than rewriting federal law, the ghost gun rule implements the language of the Gun Control Act of 1968, preventing subversion of the Act’s purpose by providing clarity given advancements in firearm technology. Ghost guns are unserialized, untraceable, fully functioning firearms that can be easily assembled at home. The amicus brief calls attention to the ease with which these weapons can be purchased and assembled and also shows that the rule is consistent with ATF’s long standing view that unfinished frames and receivers can be firearms within the meaning of the Gun Control Act.
Brady Counsel Shira Feldman shared:
“The ghost gun rule issued by the Biden-Harris administration simply makes a very important clarification. Ghost guns are guns, and should be regulated as such. These weapons are unserialized, untraceable, easy to assemble, and a surefire way for those prohibited from possessing firearms to gain access to them. They are by definition, the perfect crime guns. To be clear, nothing has been rewritten here. This rule simply ensures that existing law isn’t being undermined by individuals looking to gain easy access to firearms for use in a crime or the companies that profit from them.”
About Ghost Guns
Ghost guns are unserialized and untraceable firearms that are often made from "ghost gun kits," that can be bought online, at gun shows, or at gun stores and assembled at home. "Ghost gun kits" include all of the parts and often the equipment necessary to build these weapons at home. These kits are widely available and can be purchased by anyone, including prohibited purchasers such as domestic abusers and gun traffickers, without a background check or any paper trail. From 2016 through 2021, law enforcement agencies reported 45,240 recoveries of ghost guns to ATF, with 19,344 recoveries in 2021 compared to 1,758 recoveries in 2016.
About the ATF and DOJ Rule on Ghost Guns
The Department of Justice has amended the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) regulations to provide new regulatory definitions of “firearm frame or receiver” and “frame or receiver” to include components sold in kits and below specific thresholds that can be quickly and easily converted into a functioning firearm.
The Department likewise amended the ATF's definitions of “firearm” and “gunsmith” to clarify the meaning of those terms, and to provide definitions of terms such as “complete weapon,” “complete muffler or silencer device,” “privately made firearm,” and “readily” for purposes of clarity given advancements in firearms technology. Finally, the Department updated ATF's regulations on marking and recordkeeping so that ATF can properly and effectively implement these changes.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.