Ghost guns, sometimes called “do-it-yourself guns,” can be built at home without the manufacturer’s license. This allows guns and other weapons to be made that are untraceable and without other protections like background checks that accompany the purchase of legal firearms.
Ghost guns pose two issues. First, the parts used to assemble these guns aren’t considered firearms. So, people can buy them without undergoing a thorough checkup via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICBCS). This allows people prohibited from possessing or buying guns to easily evade this restriction by purchasing a kit and assembling their guns at home.
Ghost guns have been highly linked to shootings across the country. More than 110 Americans are killed with guns daily! Ghost guns have been responsible for many fatal shootings in the past few years. Some notable examples are:
Ghost guns weren’t required to have serial numbers. Therefore, they’re entirely untraceable if they’re recovered in connection with a crime. This offers little evidentiary value to criminal investigators, making it challenging to develop leads and unmask potential perpetrators. Indeed, ghost guns are the weapon of choice for violence against anti-government extremists and white supremacists.
In August 2022, the Biden administration enacted federal regulations for all ghost gun sellers and dealers. These regulations put Ghose guns in the same legal category as traditional firearms. They further require that dealers and manufacturers of ghost gun building blocks must be federally licensed. The building blocks (the gun’s frame and receivers) must have serial numbers, and purchasers must pass a thorough background check before purchasing these parts. Records of sale must also be kept by sellers.
These regulations did not make ghost guns illegal. People who own ghost guns can still have them provided they aren’t legally barred from owning guns. But any dealer having ghost guns must serialize them.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia already have laws regulating ghost guns, and some of those laws ban possessing ghost guns. Unfortunately, these states cannot cut off the national supply chain for ghost guns. Hopefully, this rule will ultimately do.
The states that have enacted laws banning ghost gun sale and manufacturing are:
Most recently, several localities and cities have almost set proposals to help regulate ghost guns, including:
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