Biden administration announces crackdown on 'ghost guns' in wider move to ban 'assault weapons'

On Monday, the White House released a fact sheet stating that the ATF now 'has the leadership it needs to enforce our gun laws,' detailing how it intends to crack down on 'ghost guns,' or unregistered firearms.

Biden administration announces crackdown on 'ghost guns' in wider move to ban 'assault weapons'
AP Photo/Haven Daley,File
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The Biden administration announced Monday that it plans to initiate a crackdown on so-called “ghost guns,” or untraceable firearms. The move comes following President Joe Biden’s nomination of Steve Dettelbach as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Dettelbach, a former US attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, is Biden’s second pick after the Democrat president withdrew his nomination for David Chipman, a gun control advocate and former ATF agent who worked as a case agent in the Branch Davidian trial following the Waco massacre of 1993.

As reported by the New York Post in 2021, Chipman falsely told a Reddit AMA question and answer session that Branch Davidian members shot down two helicopters with “.50 caliber Barretts.” Chipman’s nomination was ultimately withdrawn due to pushback from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

On Monday, the White House released a fact sheet stating that the ATF now “has the leadership it needs to enforce our gun laws,” detailing how it intends to crack down on “ghost guns,” or unregistered firearms – much of which are fabricated using 3D printers and CNC mills, or through DIY kits that can be assembled with metalworking tools.

The White House stated:

This final rule bans the business of manufacturing the most accessible ghost guns, such as unserialized “buy build shoot” kits that individuals can buy online or at a store without a background check and can readily assemble into a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes with equipment they have at home. This rule clarifies that these kits qualify as “firearms” under the Gun Control Act, and that commercial manufacturers of such kits must therefore become licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, and commercial sellers of these kits must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to a sale – just like they have to do with other commercially-made firearms.

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 unserialized firearm into inventory to serialize that weapon. For example, if an individual 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 fact sheet goes on to detail how firearms with split receivers will now be subject to regulations requiring serial numbers and background checks

Biden’s move to crack down on so-called “assault weapons” comes almost three decades since he helped author the Federal Assault Weapons Ban as part of a 1994 crime bill.

The bill, which was promoted through then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s characterization of young black men as “juvenile super-predators” has been heavily criticized as for criminalizing African-Americans for minor offenses and creating the carceral state.

The United States continues to hold the world’s largest prison population, both in total and per capita, according to the University of London and the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research.

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