Council Members Helen Rosenthal and I. Daneek Miller will introduce legislation today banning the possession of unfinished lower gun frames or receivers, which are then used to create untraceable firearms or so-called “ghost guns.”
Ghost guns and 3-D printed guns are especially popular among individuals who are unable to purchase guns legally because they have no serial numbers, which makes them virtually untraceable by law enforcement and allows criminals to bypass background checks and licensing laws. Ghost-guns can also be customized because they are assembled from unfinished parts.
Tests conducted in 2013 by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on two different 3-D gun models showed that one successfully fired 8 times while the other exploded into a dozen plastic shards.
Similarly, 3-D firearms are designed with a removable metal block that is not necessary for functionality and assembled from parts made of the same plastic material as children’s Legos, which conceals them from metal detectors. Tests conducted in 2013 by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on two different 3-D gun models showed that one successfully fired 8 times while the other exploded into a dozen plastic shards.
“It is urgent that we take every possible measure to block untraceable weapons in New York City,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “Unfinished ‘ghost guns’ can easily be completed with parts bought online or from a hardware store, but they have the same lethal power as finished guns purchased from a licensed retailer.”
“California and New Jersey are currently the only states that regulate these weapons. New York City has the opportunity to be at the forefront of this issue and set an important precedent that other cities and states should follow,” Council Member Rosenthal continued.
“New York is a national leader in gun-violence prevention, and the City Council has historically been at the forefront of its efforts to stem the use of deadly firearms,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “No one should possess Do-it-Yourself capability to make or assemble unregulated, unregistered, and untraceable guns. As Congress and the Legislature debate this issue, we are acting forcefully to give law enforcement the tools necessary to arrest ghost-gun buyers and suppliers, confiscate these weapons of war, and accurately assess the availability of ghost-guns on our streets before tragedy strikes.”
These unfinished frames represent 80% of a completed gun, with the remaining 20% easily purchased online or at a hardware store. Once the frame is complete, the gun is enabled to function as intended.
Council Member Rosenthal’s bill, Int 1553, will make it illegal to possess or dispose of an unfinished frame or receiver. These unfinished frames represent 80% of a completed gun, with the remaining 20% easily purchased online or at a hardware store. Once the frame is complete, the gun is enabled to function as intended.
Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000, or imprisonment for 1 year, or both.
Council Member Miller’s bill, Int 1548, will require quarterly reporting on the number of ghost guns and 3-D firearms, or related parts, seized by the NYPD during arrests. Currently, the Department reports on only three types of firearms: pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
The bills have been endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“This legislation will help keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and prevent people from building guns that cannot be traced by law enforcement. We hope our state lawmakers will follow suit and pass similar legislation to protect the entire state.”
“It’s encouraging to see our local officials take this step towards keeping our communities safe,” said June Rubin, New York City resident and volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This legislation will help keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and prevent people from building guns that cannot be traced by law enforcement. We hope our state lawmakers will follow suit and pass similar legislation to protect the entire state.”
In March, an investigation of a suspected cocaine ring in southern New Jersey led to the discovery that the ring was selling AR-15 style ghost-guns, the parts of which were shipped to nearby Pennsylvania in an attempt to circumvent New Jersey’s new law making it illegal to buy, manufacture, sell, or possess ghost-guns. The AR-15 is an extremely powerful weapon similar to the rifle that was used in the Pittsburgh synagogue attack last year.
“Even with some of the country’s strictest gun laws, there are far too many ways for guns to end up on our streets, which is why these bills regarding untraceable guns are critical for the public safety of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “While Washington D.C. shrugs its shoulders at every tragic shooting, we need to step up to ensure that the NYPD has the legal authority to confiscate these ghost guns and penalize anyone possessing them. I thank Council Members Rosenthal and Miller for their commitment to gun control.”
Council Members Miller and Rosenthal will also introduce a resolution (866) today calling on Congress to pass, and the President to sign, H.R. 7115, known as the “3-D Firearms Prohibition Act.” Sponsored by Representative Frank Joseph Pallone Jr., this bill would prohibit the marketing, sale, acquisition, and import of “do-it-yourself” firearm parts and kits.
Because 3-D firearms can also go completely undetected by law enforcement, the 3-D Firearms Prohibition Act would require anyone making a firearm to attain a serial number and identifying mark — prior to the weapon’s completion.
The Council Members’ resolution notes that “the dangers posed by 3-D printed firearms are growing rapidly and New York City has already seen the problems posed by these guns. Manufacturing and possessing 3-D printed firearms and ghost guns should be banned as they present serious safety hazards to New Yorkers and the rest of the nation.”