WASHINGTON — The Justice Department proposed a rule on Friday that may develop the definition of a firearm and assist shut a loophole that has allowed folks to purchase so-called ghost weapons, firearms which are simply assembled from kits however will not be regulated by federal gun legal guidelines.
The proposal was the newest effort by the Biden administration to crack down on gun deaths. President Biden ordered the Justice Department final month to discover a means inside 30 days to curb the unfold of ghost weapons, with an eye fixed towards retaining them from criminals who may not in any other case have the ability to go a background verify and purchase a gun.
“Criminals and others barred from owning a gun should not be able to exploit a loophole to evade background checks and to escape detection by law enforcement,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland mentioned in an announcement asserting the proposal.
“This proposed rule would help keep guns out of the wrong hands and make it easier for law enforcement to trace guns used to commit violent crimes, while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans,” he mentioned.
After mass shootings this 12 months within the Atlanta space and Boulder, Colo., Mr. Biden issued half a dozen executive actions to deal with gun violence, together with the directive to the Justice Department geared toward stopping the proliferation of ghost weapons. Such weapons haven’t any serial numbers and will not be tracked by the federal authorities.
“Criminals are buying kits containing nearly all of the components and directions for finishing a firearm within as little as 30 minutes and using these firearms to commit crimes,” the White House mentioned in an announcement on the time. “When these firearms turn up at crime scenes, they often cannot be traced by law enforcement due to the lack of a serial number.”
In a price range listening to this week earlier than a House appropriations subcommittee, Mr. Garland informed lawmakers that it was unclear whether or not ghost weapons “are defined as firearms themselves.”
Under the proposed rule issued on Friday, gun retailers would wish to run background checks earlier than promoting kits that comprise the elements crucial to make a gun, and gun package makers would wish to embody a serial quantity for sure elements present in firearm kits which are simple to construct.
The rule would additionally require federally licensed firearms sellers to add a serial quantity to any 3D-printed weapons or different nonserialized firearms that they intend to promote.
After the Justice Department points its proposed rule on ghost weapons and publishes it within the Federal Register, the general public may have 90 days to recommend modifications, the division mentioned in an announcement.
The Justice Department mentioned that from 2016 to 2020, legislation enforcement officers had recovered greater than 23,000 firearms with out serial numbers from potential crime scenes.
“Although this rule-making will solve only one aspect of the problem, we have an obligation to do our part to keep our families and our neighborhoods safe from gun violence,” Mr. Garland mentioned.
Gun management advocates applauded the transfer. “Ghost guns undermine nearly every gun law in the country, and they are marketed and sold for that purpose,” Kris Brown, the president of Brady, an advocacy group pushing for gun management, mentioned in an announcement. “The rule proposed by the Justice Department today will have a tangible impact.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and a staunch advocate of gun management, known as the brand new rule a “common-sense” measure that may lower down on crime and enhance public security.
“For too long, these ghost guns have plagued our streets,” Ms. Feinstein mentioned in an announcement. “I’m glad President Biden is fulfilling his promise to ban these guns and will continue to work with his administration to pass common-sense measures to end the gun violence epidemic.”
When Mr. Biden unveiled his govt actions, together with the request for a proposed rule about ghost weapons, the National Rifle Association vowed to battle the proposals, calling them “extreme gun control actions” that may push states to confiscate extra weapons.