President Biden has called for new measures to regulate untraceable, homemade weapons called "ghost guns." The weapons are sometimes referred to as "privately made firearms." Often purchased from kits, these weapons do not have serial numbers, making them difficult to track and regulate.
In an announcement on Monday, USA Today reported, the president said the new regulations would make clear that unassembled parts of the guns would still qualify as firearms according to federal law.
“These guns are weapons of choice for many criminals. We’re going to do everything we can to deprive them of that choice and, when we find them, put them in jail for a long, long time,” Biden said during an announcement at the White House on Monday. “Law enforcement is sounding the alarms. Our communities are paying the price. And we’re acting.”
Commercial manufacturers of the kits will have to be licensed and must add serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver. Any entity who sells such kits must become licensed and will be required to run background checks on buyers before a sale, the same as must happen with commercially made firearms. The new rules mandate firearm dealers add a serial number to already-assembled ghost guns they come across.
Biden’s decision to point his attention to ghost guns comes amid growing concern about increased gun violence and pressure from Democrats in Congress to crack down on gun deaths and violent crime. Ghost guns are one of many issues facing regulators and policymakers looking to address a spike in gun violence that started in the summer of 2020.
New York mayor Eric Adams, who spoke at the White House event, shared that the NYPD recovered 163 ghost guns thus far in 2022, compared to 29 over the same period in 2021.
"It's no longer a ghost," Biden said in the Rose Garden on Monday. "It has a return address. And it's going to help save lives, reduce crime and get more criminals off the streets."
At least 10 states and Washington, DC, have restricted or banned the purchase or use of ghost guns, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.