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Brady Applauds Proposed Department of Justice Rule Regulating Ghost Guns: “This Will Save Lives”

Washington, D.C., May 7, 2021 - Today, Brady applauds President Biden and the Biden Administration for issuing a proposed rule to regulate ghost gun kits and parts as firearms. This action, when in effect, will have an immediate and tangible impact on the effort to prevent gun violence. This proposed rule will require that unfinished frames and receivers be serialized and their sale subject to a background check from a licensed dealer. This regulation will help stop the continued proliferation of unregulated and untraceable ghost guns into communities all over the country.

Brady President Kris Brown said:


“President Biden has once again demonstrated his understanding of America’s gun violence epidemic and his commitment to addressing gun violence in all of its forms. Ghost guns undermine nearly every gun law in the country, and they are marketed and sold for that purpose. The rule proposed by the Justice Department today will have a tangible impact. Unregulated access to ghost guns is a threat to public safety, which is why gun violence prevention advocates, community leaders, and law enforcement have all called for their regulation. Currently, any person can purchase a ghost gun without any background check or safeguard.This loophole has been exploited and utilized by individuals who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm, circumventing the base principles of our gun safety laws. Today’s action ends that. In requiring background checks and the serialization of these parts, President Biden and the U.S. Department of Justice will ensure that any individual who should be prohibited from purchasing a firearm has no legal avenue to do so. At long last these weapons will be treated as the firearms we know they are. This will save lives.”

Brady Program Manager and former Chief of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms Steve Lindley shared:

Ghost guns are a clear and present danger to law enforcement, our communities, and any effort to reduce firearm violence in our country. These weapons undermine the many public safety laws that states have worked hard to pass - laws with overwhelming public support, such as background checks, that help to keep communities and law enforcement safe. This proposed rule will help keep all Americans safe and reduce gun violence and gun trafficking by ensuring that these weapons are serialized and regulated. This is a common-sense regulation and we are grateful to Attorney General Garland and President Biden for proposing this rule. This will save lives.”

Brady Senior Counsel and Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:


“This proposed rule is part of President Biden’s plan to address gun violence in all of its forms, a plan that takes particular note of an unacceptable reality: Black and Brown communities in the United States are disproportionately affected by this epidemic. In America, Black people are ten times more likely to die from gun homicide than white people. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black Youth and Black youth are fourteen times more likely than their white counterparts to die from gun homicide. On the whole, gun violence decreases Black Americans’ average life expectancy by about four years. Ghost guns are a part of that gun violence and in the past few years we have seen an exponential rise in the recovery of ghost guns in Black and Brown communities nationwide. Unregulated access to unserialized ghost guns has further fuel gun trafficking into our communities, perpetuating violence into communities created by years of inequity, racism, and oppression. By regulating ghost guns as what they are --firearms, President Biden is reducing a driver of gun violence in our communities and building on his historic funding for community violence prevention. This rule will have an immediate and tangible impact.”

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, domestic abusers, and gun traffickers — without a background check. As these kits and guns are sold at gun shows and online every day throughout the country, they undermine all of the life-saving policies that state legislatures have fought so hard to put in place. We have seen ghost guns used in crimes already, such as in New York, where six-year-old Miguel Everson was shot in the back by his uncle, who was a prohibited purchaser but obtained a ghost gun, and in the 2019 Saugus High School Shooting, where a minor used a .45 caliber pistol that was assembled from a kit.

This is a growing concern, as:

  • The ATF estimated that in just 2019, over 10,000 ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement.

  • The CA Bureau of Firearms seized 512 percent more ghost guns from persons identified through the Armed Prohibited Persons System database in 2019 than in 2018.

  • In January 2020, the ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division reported that over 40 percent of its cases involved ghost guns.

  • In just one week in January 2021, 17 percent of firearms recovered by the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC were ghost guns.

  • In San Francisco, the number of ghost guns seized by local law enforcement jumped 600 percent between 2017 and 2019

  • In Onondaga County, in New York State the number of ghost guns recovered jumped 188 percent between 2018 and 2019 and in 2020, the county was again on track to break their record for recoveries - halfway through the year, more ghost guns had been recovered than in all of 2019.

About Brady’s First-of-its-Kind Lawsuit, McFadyen v. Ghost Gunner Inc.

Represented by Brady and the international law firm Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe the survivors and the families of the people killed in the 2017 mass shooting in Rancho Tehama, California, recently brought forward McFadyen v. GhostGunner Inc., the nation’s first two civil lawsuits by victims of gun violence against the ghost gun industry.

Plaintiffs allege in the complaint that the defendants have chosen to engage in a business that utilizes online loopholes that enable prohibited purchasers to acquire weapons without a Brady Background Check or any interaction with a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). In doing so, Brady alleges that the defendants have chosen to intentionally undermine federal and state gun laws by designing, marketing, and selling ghost gun kits and firearms parts, which allowed the Rancho Tehama gunman, who was barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm, to obtain two AR-15-style ghost guns. During the gunman’s shooting spree in November 2017, he killed five people and injured 18 others at eight separate crime scenes, including an elementary school.

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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.


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