Ghost guns– without serial numbers–are being targeted by 18 state attorneys general in a push to have them banned by the Biden Administration.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is among a dozen and a half to law enforcement officers who want to keep the guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.
James today (Mar. 22) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling on the Justice Department to close a loophole the allows makers to sell the guns.
Two years ago James shut down more than a dozen websites operators who sell ready-to-assemble assault rifles and other guns over the Internet. The ban, however, only extended to New York state.
Typically, gun parts are sold over the Internet. Purchasers merely have to assemble them, or, in some cases, do minor work to make them functional.
Ghost guns are favored by felons and others barred from possessing weapons. The guns are virtually untraceable because they lack serial numbers.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) under the Trump administration held that the guns were legal under the federal Gun Control Act.
In 2018, The Trump administration approved the sale of untraceable, undetectable guns created with 3-D printers. More than 20 state Attorneys General swiftly filed a lawsuit to block sales.
A federal judge, issued a preliminary injunction in response to the lawsuit, and the administration’s effort was struck down in 2019.
“The court ultimately found the Trump Administration acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it determined to move forward with such a plan, and we completely agree,” said James in a statement.
The Trump administration tried to get around the ruling in 2020 by publishing formal rules to allow the guns, which prompted another lawsuit.
In 2015, the Obama administration State Department forced the removal of the 3D gun manufacturing instructions from the internet.
“There is only one purpose for the sale of deadly ghost guns — to put guns into the hands of those who are legally prohibited from owning a firearm,” James said in a release.
“The proliferation of these types of weapons has not only caused indescribable suffering across the country, but gravely endangers every New Yorker.”
State officials are asking Garland to close the Gun Control Act loophole and prohibit the sale of 80 percent-complete gun receivers to those who are already banned from purchasing weapons.
“This is about protecting our schools, our offices, and our places of worship from turning into killing fields,” she said.
The loophole applies to the so-called “receiver.”
It holds the top and rear portions of the gun together and actually fires the bullet.
The lower receiver is the only piece that is independently considered a firearm and is thus subject to federal regulation.
However, an incomplete lower receiver — lacking certain holes, slots, or cavities — is not considered a firearm and can evade federal regulations.
The ATF allows 80 percent-finished receiver kits to be sold online and at gun shows throughout the country without background checks. The top cops want them included under the law.
Last month, 21 attorneys general from around the nation filed an amicus brief in the case Grewal v. Defense Distributed before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The lawsuit that seeks to stop states from enforcing their laws against a company disseminating dangerous 3D-printed gun files on the internet.
Joining Attorney General James are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.