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How does Biden want to regulate ghost guns?

The firearms are one aspect of gun control the president has taken aim at to stem the tide of mass shootings that fell more and more frequent.

Law enforcement report recovering an ever-increasing number of “ghost guns” involved in crimes. The Biden administration is taking steps to regulate them.

With two mass shootings in the space of just two weeks, gun control is once again being discussed by the president, though action in Congress is not expected to be forthcoming. With the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) lobby pumping millions into Congress every year, legislation to combat the proliferation of guns never gets to the president’s desk.

While using Congress to tackle the issue is a problem, Biden has investigated other methods to prevent people getting ahold of weapons that shouldn’t be. These are known as “ghost guns” due to them being contructed at home with equipment like 3D printers.

The number of them recovered by law enforcement has increased more than tenfold in the past five years, including nearly 700 in connection with homicide or attempted homicide investigations. A year ago, President Biden directed the Justice Department to review the issue which released an updated definition of a firearm to regulate privately-made guns.

What are the Biden administrations the new rules for “ghost guns”?

Speaking in April, President Joe Biden explained that due to inaction from Congress he was using “regulatory authority” to rein in the proliferation of “ghost guns”. These firearms generally do not contain serial numbers and can bypass background checks, allowing minors, criminals and other people who are unfit to possess a firearm to purchase them.

After a 12-month process the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has finalized a rule to modernize firearm definitions “in a way that respects the rights of law-abiding Americans.” This will subject the guns made with kits at home and using 3D printers to the same regulations as traditional firearms. The new rules will take effect on August 9.

Under the new regulations, manufacturers and retailers must be licensed with the ATF in order to make and sell at home gun assembly kits, which can be assembled in as little as 30 minutes according to the White House. They will now be defined as “firearms” under the Gun Control Act.

This will mandate that certain parts that can be used to make a functioning firearm have the required markings, with marks like serial numbers. They will have 60 days from the time the rule is effective to appropriately mark firearms that currently are not. Likewise, manufacturers and retailers will be prohibited from selling gun kits without a background check.

Federally licensed firearms dealers and gunsmiths that purchase a ghost gun, along with those in their inventory that do not have the appropriate markings, will be required to add a serial number before the firearm can be sold.

The new rule also extends the amount of time that licensed firearm dealers are required to maintain records. Prior to the change records only needed to be held for 20 years, which has over the past decade led to the ATF being unable to trace thousands of firearms because the records had already been destroyed. Many of these were used in homicides and other violent crimes.

Biden pointed to this in his announcement, stating that according to the ATF, they’ve been able to trace less than one percent of ghost guns reported by law enforcement. The number of ghost guns recovered by the authorities has grown spectacularly in the past five years, from less than 2,000 to almost 20,000 last year.

Reaction to the new ghost gun regulations has been swift

Proponents of stricter regulations commended the President for the new rules. Opponents and GOP lawmakers however were quick to voice their opposition. Biden acknowledged the criticism “The NRA called this rule I’m about to announce, ‘extreme.’ ‘Extreme.’” he said.

“But 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?” Biden continued, “Look, the idea that someone on a terrorist list could purchase one of these guns is extreme? It isn’t extreme; it’s just basic common sense.”


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