Legislation would require online and other sellers of gun-making kits to comply with federal firearm safety regulations
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) led a group of forty-six lawmakers including U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) in introducing legislation to ban “ghost” guns. Blumenthal announced the Untraceable Firearms Act while chairing a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee, “Stop Gun Violence: Ghost Guns.”
“Our bill would close the ‘ghost’ gun loophole for good. An assault weapon built from a kit ordered online can kill just as many people as one bought in a store – only the DIY version doesn’t require an ID, licensing, or a background check,” Blumenthal said. “There’s nothing ghostly about ‘ghost’ guns – they look like guns, shoot like guns, and kill like guns. Our legislation would ensure that violent extremists, domestic abusers, and foreign terrorists can’t evade background checks and other safety measures by building weapons at home instead of buying them from a store.”
“Gun violence is a public health epidemic in our country. In recent years, the increased presence of ghost guns in our communities has made this problem even worse. These untraceable weapons make it harder for law enforcement to find and prosecute violent criminals,” said Cicilline. “This legislation will close the ghost gun loophole and make these weapons easier to trace. It’s just commonsense.”
“Federal law has not been updated to account for technological advances that allow criminals and other prohibited gun purchasers to easily get their hands on illegal, untraceable firearms. While I applaud President Biden’s Executive Action to stop the proliferation of ghost guns and require a background check before purchasing the kits often used to make them, we need legislation at the federal level to stop ghost guns,” said Murphy.
Last week, the Department of Justice announced new rulemaking to close the “ghost” gun loophole by updating the definition of “frame or receiver” to include the kind of “unfinished” component parts frequently sold online and at gun shows, often as part of gun-making kits.
The Untraceable Firearms Act would permanently include the core building blocks of “ghost” guns– unfinished frames and receivers –in the definition of “firearm” under federal law. In doing so, online and other gun kit manufacturers and distributors selling frames and receivers that can “readily” be converted into fully functional components would be required to comply with the same federal regulations that govern the production and distribution of completed firearms.
This includes a requirement that sellers have a manufacturer’s license and put a serial number on the frame or receiver included in each kit, and that purchasers undergo a background check. The bill also incorporates the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act, which would prohibit firearms that can be easily modified to be pass through metal detectors undetected.
The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“Ghost guns or build-it-yourself firearms that evade detection and background checks pose a serious risk to public safety and an increased risk to our law enforcement officers,” said Markey. “I am proud to co-sponsor the Untraceable Firearms Act to finally put a stop to these deadly weapons. Congress has an obligation to keep these guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, would-be mass shooters, and other criminals in order to protect the public.”
“The spread of untraceable firearms and their increased popularity among white supremacists pose a significant threat to the safety and well-being of communities across the country,” said Menendez. “Given this growing threat, we cannot afford to wait any longer to regulate these weapons and ensure federal law treats them as the dangerous and life-threatening firearms they are.”
“Ghost guns are built from kits or by using 3-D printers,” Feinstein said. “Since the guns come unassembled, they currently aren’t required to have a serial number. This makes them a popular choice for criminals. This commonsense bill will save lives by preventing unmarked guns from flooding our streets.”
“Assembling a deadly firearm at home doesn’t make it any less deadly,” said Whitehouse. “Safeguards like background checks and serial numbers keep guns out of the hands of criminals and help law enforcement track them down when they’ve been used in a crime. That’s why we need to pass this commonsense bill into law.”
“Congress has a responsibility to take action on common sense legislation to combat the American gun violence epidemic, including closing the dangerous ‘ghost gun’ loophole,” said Casey. “It is unacceptable that convicted felons, domestic abusers and others prohibited from possessing a firearm are able to completely bypass the background check system by purchasing a gun-making kit and manufacturing an untraceable gun on their own. We need to act to keep our communities safe.”
“There is no reason that unregistered, untraceable firearms should be allowed to flood our communities,” said Padilla. “These ‘ghost guns’ pose a clear threat to public safety and make it easier for criminals to commit violent crimes and harder for law enforcement to stop them. We need to close the loopholes in our background check and firearms registration laws. Time is ticking for Congress to act.”
“We simply can’t afford to stand idly by as the deadly epidemic of gun violence continues to plague our nation,” said Booker. “With the majority of Americans supporting common sense gun safety measures, it’s past time for our federal government to take the necessary actions to save lives and keep our communities safe, including banning so-called ‘ghost guns.’”