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The Biden administration just regulated ‘ghost guns.’ What does that mean?

A Liberator pistol appears next to the 3D printer on which its components were made.
A Liberator pistol appears next to the 3D printer on which its components were made.

The Biden administration has unveiled a new rule that regulates “ghost guns” — untraceable firearms that are built privately (sometimes through 3-D printing) and don’t have serial numbers.

According to White House data, the number of “ghost gun” seizures has increased ten-fold since 2016.

Efforts among Senate Republicans to block the measure are already underway.

NPR reports:

Under the rule, the kits will need to be produced by licensed manufacturers. And anyone buying the guns will have to pass a background check.

The rule will also require serial numbers on the gun kit’s frame or receiver, which is the primary piece of the firearm that all of the parts are attached to, McCourt said.

As for the ghost guns that are already in circulation, the rule will require that licensed dealers add serial numbers any ghost guns that are a part of their inventory. This applies to all ghost guns — whether produced in a kit, assembled from parts or 3D-printed.

In addition, the rule will require federally licensed gun retailers to hold onto records for the length of time that they’re licensed, according to the Department of Justice. Throughout the past decade, the ATF has struggled to trace firearms because the records had already been destroyed.

We answer your questions about “ghost guns” with a panel of experts.

We reached out to Gun Owners of America about the Biden administration’s new regulations. They provided this statement from Director of Federal Affairs Aidan Johnston:

Biden’s proposal to create a comprehensive nationalgunregistry and end the online sale of gun parts without the passage of a new law exemplifies his disregard for the Second Amendment. 

Congress must provide oversight by striking down ATF’s illegalgun registration rule using the Congressional Review Act and passing Rep. Michael Cloud’s No REGISTRY Rights Act to eliminate ATF’s billion-record gun registry. 

Just as we opposed the Trump Administration’s arbitrary ban on bump stocks, GOA will also sue Biden’s ATF to halt the implementation of this rule, whose promulgation violates the Second Amendment, FirearmOwners Protection Act, GunControl Act of 1968, and Administrative Procedures Act.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.

Kathryn Fink