Biden Administration Announces Ghost Gun Restrictions
President Joe Biden and US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced new federal ghost gun restrictions on Apr. 11, 2022.
Ghost guns, also called privately made firearms or homemade guns, are guns assembled from kits or individually sourced parts by consumers. Currently, the guns do not have serial numbers (making them largely untraceable) and have not been subject to federal gun regulations.
The restrictions will expand the definition of “firearm” in the Gun Control Act to include “buy build shoot” kits. Buyers will have to undergo the same background check they would if buying an assembled gun. Manufacturers and sellers of the kits will now also be subject to federal regulations as if they are making and selling fully assembled guns, including putting a serial number on the weapon. Sellers will also have to add a serial number to any gun they acquire without such a number.
In an Apr. 11, 2022 article, US Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “The regulations also will help reduce the number of untraceable firearms flooding into our communities. And they will achieve these important law enforcement objectives while respecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”
The NRA (National Rifle Association) responded to news of the regulations that the organization was “ready to fight” the new measures.
According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) received, “approximately 45,000 reports of suspected privately made firearms recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations — including 692 homicides or attempted homicides.” 20,000 of those ghost guns were reported in 2021 alone. The ATF was only able to trace about 1% of the 45,000 ghost guns due to the lack of serial numbers.
Meanwhile, Maryland was the most recent state to pass a law restricting or banning ghost guns, following DC and 10 other states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.
1. Should ghost guns be regulated by the federal government? Explain your answer(s).
2. Should states have any say in ghost gun regulation? Explain your answer(s).
3. Should more gun control laws be enacted? Explain your answer(s).
1. Armando Garcia, “Biden Admin, DOJ to Announce Final Rule on ‘Ghost Guns’,” abcnews.go.com, Apr. 11, 2022
2. Dakin Andone, “What You Should Know about Ghost Guns, Ahead of Biden’s Expected Announcement on New Regulations,” cnn.com, Apr. 11, 2022
3. White House, “FACT SHEET: The Biden Administration Cracks Down on Ghost Guns, Ensures That ATF Has the Leadership it Needs to Enforce Our Gun Laws,” whitehouse.gov, Apr. 11, 2022
4. Merrick Garland, “Merrick Garland: Ghost Guns Are Real Guns. And We’ll Regulate Them to Save Lives.,” usatoday.com, Apr. 11, 2022
5. James Walker, “NRA Tells Joe Biden It Is ‘Ready to Fight’ New Gun Control Measures,” newsweek.com, Apr. 8, 2022
6. Kiely Westhoff and Emma Tucker, “Maryland Joins 10 States and DC Becoming Latest to Place Restrictions on Ghost Guns,” cnn.com, Apr. 8, 2022