As an important step to halt the overwhelming wave of gun violence, Attorney General Josh Shapiro has led a multi-state coalition in submitting a comment to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that encourages the bureau to finalize regulations that would make clear that “ghost guns” are firearms under federal law.
According to a news release from the Office of the Attorney General, Shapiro has previously called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and federal lawmakers to close loopholes that allow prohibited purchasers to buy weapon parts kits and “80% percent receivers” that can easily be assembled into operative guns.
“In 2019, my office sounded the alarm. Guns assembled from kits are becoming the weapon of choice for criminals and are fueling the gun violence epidemic in Pennsylvania,” said Attorney General Shapiro.
Easier to evade controls
He believes that this kind of weapon makes it easier for people to evade the necessary controls. “The proposed rule change will close a loophole that gun dealers have eagerly exploited to sell products that allow people to quickly make untraceable guns at home. I call on the ATF and Attorney General Garland to take action now.”
The proposed rule, Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms, updates the ATF’s interpretations of “firearm” and “frame or receiver” as used in the Gun Control Act of 1968 to clarify that weapon kits and incomplete weapon parts, both of which can be easily converted into functioning guns, are covered by the Act.
The ATF’s current regulations effectively allow people, including those who have been prohibited from owning a gun under federal law, to obtain a weapon without undergoing any background check.
“Certain firearm dealers have capitalized on these regulatory loopholes and actively promote that so-called “ghost guns,”meaning weapon kits or partially complete frames or receivers that can easily be converted into unserialized, operable weapons,can be purchased unencumbered by federal regulations, ”explained the coalition of Attorneys General explained.
The comment explained that to maintain the integrity of the Gun Control Act, the ATF must revise its regulations so that they encompass modern gun designs. Otherwise, federal regulations cannot accomplish what Congress intended when it passed the Gun Control Act.
According to current reporting from Pennsylvania law enforcement, the Philadelphia Police Department recovered 287 ghost guns in the first half of 2021. Nine percent of all guns recovered following a gun crime were ghost guns.