Biden Expected To Release Ghost Weapons Rule Within Days

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The Biden administration is expected to come out with its long-awaited phantom gun rule in days

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is set to release its long-awaited phantom gun rule Monday — aimed at curbing privately made non-serial-numbered firearms that are increasingly turning up at crime scenes — three people familiar with the case said. Associated Press.

Completion of the rule comes as the White House and Justice Department come under increasing pressure to tackle gun deaths and violent crime in the US

The White House has also considered appointing Steve Dettelbach, a former US attorney from Ohio, to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, the people said. Biden had to withdraw the nomination of his first candidate, gun control advocate David Chipman, after the nomination was stalled for months due to opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in the Senate.

For nearly a year, the rule has made its way through the federal regulatory process. Gun safety groups and Democrats in Congress have been pushing for months for the Justice Department to finish the rule. It is likely to face strong opposition from gun groups and lead to lawsuits in the coming weeks.

The exact timing of the announcement has not been determined, the people said. They were unable to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. The White House declined to comment.

On Sunday, the top Senate Democrat, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, pleaded with the government to act more quickly.

“It’s high time for a ghost weapons exodus before proliferation peaks and more people are injured — or worse,” Schumer said in a statement. “My message is simple: Don’t wait any longer for these proposed federal rules.” Ghost guns are “too easy to build, too difficult to track down, and too dangerous to ignore.”

Justice Department statistics show that nearly 24,000 ghost weapons were recovered by law enforcement officers at crime scenes and reported to the government from 2016 to 2020. It’s hard to say how many are circulating on the streets, in part because in many cases police forces don’t. Don’t contact the government about the weapons as they cannot be traced.

The rule is expected to change the current definition of a firearm under federal law to include unfinished parts, such as the frame of a pistol or the receiver of a long rifle.

In its proposed rule released last May, the ATF said it also wanted manufacturers and dealers selling ghost gun parts to be licensed by the federal government and to require federally licensed firearms dealers to add a serial number. to any non-serialized weapons they intended to sell. to sell.

The rule would also require firearms dealers to conduct background checks before selling phantom weapon kits that contain parts needed to assemble a firearm.

For years, federal officials have been sounding the alarm about an increasing black market for homemade, semi-automatic, military-style rifles and pistols. In addition to appearing more frequently at crime scenes, ghost weapons are increasingly found when federal agents purchase weapons from undercover operations of mobsters and other criminals.

Some states, such as California, have passed laws in recent years to require serial numbers to be stamped on ghost guns.

The critical part in building an untraceable gun is what is known as the bottom receiver, a part usually made of metal or polymer. An unfinished receiver — also known as an “80 percent receiver” — can be legally purchased online without serial numbers or other markings, and no license is required.

Police across the country have reported spikes in ghost weapons being recovered by officers. For example, the New York Police Department said officers have found 131 unnumbered firearms since January.

A gunman who killed his wife and four others in Northern California in 2017 was banned from possessing firearms, but he built his own firearms to get around the court order before ranting. And in 2019, a teen used a homemade gun to fatally shoot two classmates and injure three others at a school in suburban Los Angeles.

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