The Biden administration is going after so-called ghost guns — privately made firearms without serial numbers — in an attempt to revive President Joe Biden’s stalled domestic agenda.
As part of its efforts to revive the anti-gun agenda upon which Biden ran for the White House, the administration also announced Monday its nomination of Steve Dettelbach, a former U.S. attorney from Ohio, to run the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Biden’s first nominee, anti-gun zealot David Chipman, faced headwinds in a Senate that showed little interest in confirming him. His nomination was withdrawn in September.
Gun control groups applauded the Dettelbach nomination.
Steve Dettelbach will be the strong leader the @ATFHQ needs to implement @POTUS’ gun safety agenda. With decades of experience as a prosecutor, Dettelbach will be ready to provide strong enforcement of our gun laws from day one. https://t.co/Dye18Fymuv
— Everytown (@Everytown) April 11, 2022
The Associated Press reported, however, that his “confirmation is likely to be an uphill battle for the Biden administration.”
The Senate should reject Steve Dettelbach just like it rejected David Chipman. We don’t need a partisan gun-grabber at ATF. #alsen
— Katie Britt for AL (@KatieBrittforAL) April 11, 2022
A White House “fact sheet” said Biden and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco would announce the Department of Justice’s final rule on ghost guns during a Rose Garden ceremony on Monday. The administration began the process a year ago, according to Fox News.
“This final rule bans the business of manufacturing the most accessible ghost guns, such as unserialized ‘buy build shoot’ kits that individuals can buy online or at a store without a background check and can readily assemble into a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes with equipment they have at home,” the fact sheet said.
“This rule clarifies that these kits qualify as ‘firearms’ under the Gun Control Act, and that commercial manufacturers of such kits must therefore become licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, and commercial sellers of these kits must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to a sale — just like they have to do with other commercially-made firearms,” it said.
“The final rule will also help turn some ghost guns already in circulation into serialized firearms. Through this rule, the Justice Department is requiring federally licensed dealers and gunsmiths taking any unserialized firearm into inventory to serialize that weapon,” the White House said.
“For example, if an individual builds a firearm at home and then sells it to a pawn broker or another federally licensed dealer, that dealer must put a serial number on the weapon before selling it to a customer,” it said. “This requirement will apply regardless of how the firearm was made, meaning it includes ghost guns made from individual parts, kits, or by 3D-printers.”
The DOJ says it recovered more than 23,000 ghost guns between 2016 and 2020.
On Friday, the National Rifle Association denounced a new Maryland ghost gun ban.
The gun rights organization said in a news release that the Maryland legislation is “overly broad” and “will end the centuries-old practice of individuals building lawful firearms for personal use.”
“It prohibits transfer or possession of certain unfinished firearm parts that are not regulated under federal law, as well as firearms without serial numbers, with an exemption for pre-1968 firearms and antiques,” the NRA said.
“It requires anyone who wishes to keep their previously legal items, to have a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) apply a serial number to them, and then the owner must register them with the state police. Violations of selling or transferring, while misdemeanors, are punishable by up to five years of imprisonment, which results in the permanent loss of Second Amendment rights,” the NRA said.
The administration had been urged to move faster on a ghost gun ban by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
“It’s high time for a ghost gun exorcism before the proliferation peaks and before more people get hurt — or worse,” the Democrat said in a statement on Sunday, according to the AP. “My message is a simple one: No more waiting on these proposed federal rules.”
Ghost guns, Schumer said, are “too easy to build, too hard to trace and too dangerous to ignore.”
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