At least 10 states have passed their own laws to regulate or prohibit the sale of ghost guns. Several cities, including Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore, have also filed lawsuits against ghost gun manufacturers whose products have been used in crimes. Opponents of the ghost gun rule sought a court order to prevent it from going into effect Wednesday, condemning the requirement as an unconstitutional overrun. Gun safety interest groups and some law enforcement officials have been calling for years for the government to crack down on ghost guns, whether through legislation or other measures. But most efforts to pass gun laws on Capitol Hill have failed in recent decades, amid the congressional stalemate and strong opposition from the gun rights lobby. Lawmakers passed modest gun control laws this year after several high-profile mass shootings. Cracking down on ghost guns – the weapon of choice for many violent criminals Prior to the federal intervention, officials and prosecutors had tried to stop the flow of ghost guns into communities through bans in states such as California, Connecticut and Delaware and lawsuits accusing gun dealers of engaging in illegal and deceptive advertising practices. Agencies representing a group of cities — including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia — also lobbied to support the federal rule in the North Dakota case. Federal agents say the new ghost gun rule gives them an edge in their efforts to combat gun trafficking, shootings and other gun crime. „The new rule on privately manufactured firearms will really help law enforcement, especially because one of the tools ATF uses to stop the gun trade is tracing,” said Matthew Varisco, special agent in the ATF`s Philadelphia office. In response to a request for comment, the ATF pointed to new rules that now define ghost gun parts kits as finished firearms. „There are no such requirements for someone who sells items that are not defined as firearms, frames or breech boxes,” said ATF spokesman Erik Longnecker. But in lawsuits challenging the rule, opponents have attacked it as too broad, saying it would have disastrous effects on businesses and workers.
„Every year has been significantly worse than the last. So if the federal government hadn`t stepped in to do something, the problem only got worse,” said David Pucino, associate chief counsel at Giffords Law Center. The nature of the arms trade and the great distances that weapons can travel mean that local efforts are struggling to be effective. „These attempts weren`t really effective because they didn`t result in the offer. They didn`t reach the parts used to make ghost weapons,” he said. „And what this rule does is it goes up the supply chain.” Baltimore plans to sue ghost gun maker as state law goes into effect This rule builds on the Biden administration`s previous executive action to curb the spread of ghost guns. In February 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative, which forms a national cadre of prosecutors and disseminates investigative and enforcement tools to prosecute those who use ghost weapons to commit crimes.
As President Biden said at an event at NYPD headquarters, if you use a ghost gun to commit a crime, „not only will state and local prosecutors prosecute you, but federal prosecutors will also wait for federal prosecutors and federal prosecutors.” There are no known estimates of the number of ghost guns in circulation or the effectiveness of existing laws in regulating their ownership. California was the first state where all ghost guns had to be serialized. The Attorney General`s Office did not respond to several inquiries regarding the effectiveness of the legislation or provide data on compliance. „The Feds will not break down any doors on Thursday. Lawsuits happen when the pressure comes to an end, when the industry reacts outrageously,” Pucino said. „This rule does not mean that the problem of gun violence will go away, but it will be a significant contribution if implemented properly.” Tuesday, Peter D. Welte, chief justice of the U.S. District Court for North Dakota County, denied their requests for injunctions or permanent injunctions, writing that the Biden administration acted within its powers in establishing the rule. Welte, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019, wrote that the new measure „is and remains constitutional under the Second Amendment.” In a separate federal lawsuit in Texas, the measure was denied by Division 80, a company that sells blanks of recipients that are also used by people who want to build guns themselves.
The company said the rule will „destroy all Division 80 activity” and asked to block or delay it. Starting August 24, commercial manufacturers of ghost gun kits will be required to provide serial numbers. Sellers must also hold a government license, conduct background checks before selling a set of homemade firearms, and keep records of purchases while in store. The current rule allows sellers to delete records after 20 years. As explained in the final rule, from January 2016 to December 2021, the ATF received approximately 45,240 reports of alleged CMRs seized by law enforcement, including in 692 homicide or attempted murder investigations. States and cities have also targeted manufacturers and sellers of parts kits in court. Last year, the Los Angeles County Sheriff`s Department filed a lawsuit against Polymer80, a ghost gun parts manufacturer, after a man carried a gun from one of the company`s kits to ambush two lawmakers. Baltimore and New York took similar routes, with the NYPD revealing that 90 percent of the ghost guns it found contained parts of the company. Washington, D.C., sued Polymer80 after finding its products at local crime scenes and recently received a $4 million judgment. When the rule goes into effect in August, ghost gun dealers will have to abide by the same rules and regulations as any other gun dealer.
has been on the rise in recent years. While there is no data on the number of ghost gun parts sold, the number of crime scenes has increased in recent years, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which regulates firearms. Now that the rule is in effect, firearms manufacturers must resubmit products that were previously classified as non-firearms by ATF`s Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division, which analyzes weapons-related products. If retailers are not reclassified by departments and continue to sell kits without background checks and serial numbers, they will be charged with federal gun trafficking offenses. The latter rule is part of the president`s broader strategy to reduce gun crime. President Biden has made more progress in the executive branch`s efforts to reduce gun violence than any other first-year president. You can learn more about the government`s whole-of-government approach to reducing gun crime here. Gun control groups say changing the federal rule is only as good as enforcing it. Three years after New York state passed a law mandating the registration of assault weapons in 2013, only about 44,000 of the nearly 1 million guns have been registered. A similar law passed in Connecticut at the same time led to the registration of only 50,000 guns — out of about 400,000 — in the state.
The latter rule would shut down many of the ghost gun manufacturers that have flooded the market with untraceable ghost guns deliberately designed to circumvent regulations.