WASHINGTON D.C., DC — President Biden announced new regulations that target the manufacturing and sale of homemade firearms that lack serial numbers. FOX43 Reveals how this could effectively close the ghost gun loophole.
The Biden Administration is cracking down on privately-made firearms, or ghost guns—unregulated, untraceable weapons made from at-home kits. Under a final rule issued by President Biden and the U.S. Department of Justice, the building blocks of ghost guns now qualify as “firearms” under the Gun Control Act, which bans the unlicensed production of these kits.
This final rule bans the business of manufacturing most ghost guns, such as un-serialized “buy build shoot” kits that people can buy online or at a store without a background check. The parts in these kits can be assembled into a working firearm in less than 30 minutes.
Commercial manufacturers of such kits must become licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, making the firearms easier to track if the guns were used in a crime. Sellers of these kits will also be required to run background checks before a sale.
"The NRA called this rule extreme," President Biden said. "Well, let me ask you, is it extreme to protect police officers? Extreme to protect our children? Extreme to keep guns out of the hands of people who couldn't even pass a background check?"
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 un-serialized firearm into inventory to serialize that weapon.
For example, if a person 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. 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 National Rifle Association (NRA) calls this “a hollow plan” that will not stop gun violence. A spokesperson tells FOX43 Reveals that they believe the Biden Administration should focus more on taking criminals off the streets than restricting gun rights.
“Americans know the lenient bail system and the revolving door justice system supported and perpetrated by the Biden Administration and other leaders who support soft-on-criminal policies are the problem,” said Andrew Arulanandam, Managing Director of Public Affairs for the NRA. “This action sends the wrong message to violent criminals because this 'ban' will not affect them.”
The final rule comes as gun violence and crime have ticked up across the U.S., putting pressure on the White House to take action.
FOX43 Reveals that Pennsylvania recovers and traces the second-highest number of ghost guns in the country.
In 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) provided new guidance for tracing these guns. As a result, ATF agents recovered and traced 910 ghost guns statewide—a 240% increase from 2020.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has previously sounded the alarm that ghost guns are quickly becoming the weapon of choice for criminals in the Commonwealth. His efforts to close the loophole have been blocked by gun lobbyists and ghost gun manufacturers.
"For years now, violent, convicted felons have been able to go to a gun show, buy an 80% receiver and have it fully assembled and on the street in under an hour—all without a background check,” said Shapiro. “While I know this is only one part of the solution, having these kits and parts regulated will make it illegal for them to be sold to criminals and will assist law enforcement in investigations into crimes committed with these guns.”
President Biden also announced new leadership for the ATF, nominating Steve Dettelbach to serve as the agency's Director. Dettelbach is a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio who spent more than two decades with the U.S. Department of Justice.
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