Harlem’s Espaillat, Cicilline, Blumenthal Lead Bicameral Call On ATF To Crack Down On Ghost Guns

August 20, 2021

Today, Representatives Adriano Espaillat, David Cicilline, and Senator Richard Blumenthal led 93 of their colleagues in submitting a bicameral public comment letter.

The letter is in support of a proposed rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ (ATF) that would regulate the core parts used to make untraceable ghost guns, which would require that they become subject to existing firearms laws.

There is at least one seller of ghost gun building blocks in 26 states across the country, and approximately 2,500 ghost guns have been connected to criminal activity in 102 federal cases over the last decade. This rule would help to end the proliferation of untraceable and dangerous ghost guns, frequently used by criminals to maintain anonymity.

“Ghost guns are untraceable firearms and the core parts are sold by companies that do not serialize their products nor conduct background checks on the sales. The lack of regulation has led to the proliferation of ghost guns with devastating effects on our communities. The proposed rule is completely consistent with enforcing the commonsense gun laws we have on the books and will put an end to a market for ghost guns that has been a boon to gun traffickers, prohibited purchasers, and armed extremists,” the members stated in their comment letter.

“The core parts used to build ghost guns that are the subject of this proposed rule should have always been regulated. For too long, ATF has neglected its enforcement responsibilities and as a result these deadly weapons have proliferated. ATF should have never allowed the people making and selling ghost guns to avoid the law […] We will continue our work in Congress to enact stronger gun safety laws, and we commend President Biden for his leadership in taking appropriate executive action. We are in full support of the proposed rule and urge ATF to finalize it without delay,” the members concluded.

“Without a doubt, ghost guns are making our fight against gun violence more difficult. Over the past several years, we have witnessed a drastic increase in ghost guns on our streets, wreaking havoc on our communities, and tearing far too many families apart,” said Rep. Espaillat (NY-13). “ATF’s proposed rule to regulate the core parts used to make ghost guns is a first step towards quelling this epidemic of gun violence once and for all. That’s why I’m proud to lead this bicameral public comment letter with Representative Cicilline and Senator Blumenthal, both to ensure ATF hears our voices and to finally put an end to a market for ghost guns that has been a boon to gun traffickers, prohibited purchasers, and armed extremists.”

“Gun violence is a catastrophic issue in our country that claims thousands of American lives every year, and ghost guns only make that problem worse. The use of ghost guns has skyrocketed in recent years. These weapons can be obtained without a background check and are untraceable, making it difficult for law enforcement to fully investigate when these firearms are used to commit a crime. It is imperative that we crack down on these dangerous weapons so they can no longer be used anonymously or proliferate across the country. I fully support the rule proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a commonsense policy that will undoubtedly create safer communities,” said Rep. Cicilline (RI-01).

“This straightforward proposed rule is based on one fundamental and inescapable fact: a homemade gun is still a gun. An assault weapon built from a kit ordered off the internet can kill just as many people as one bought in a store – only the DIY version doesn’t require an ID, licensing, or a background check. This proposed rule will not stop anyone who is legally allowed to own a firearm from purchasing one or building one at home. It will simply allow law enforcement to trace crime guns and finally take action against those who are using a loophole in the law to stockpile weapons they are not legally allowed to have,” said Senator Blumenthal (D-CT).

Read the full public comment letter here.

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