Uptown’s Council Members Helen Rosenthal and I. Daneek Miller’s legislation to ban the possession of unfinished lower gun frames or receivers.
These guns are used to create untraceable firearms or so-called “ghost guns,” and require NYPD reporting on the seizure of such guns, was reviewed at a City Council Committee on Public Safety hearing today.
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.
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. They can also be customized because they are assembled from unfinished parts.
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.
Council Member Rosenthal’s bill, IInt 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 available to consumers. 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.
At today’s hearing, representatives of the NYPD expressed support for the legislation, as did numerous community-based and anti-gun violence organizations. The NYPD reports that they have seized 67 ghost guns since the beginning of 2017. Watch the hearing here.
The bills are co-sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and City Council Public Safety Committee Chair Donovan Richards. They have also been endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“It is urgent that we take every possible measure to block untraceable weapons in New York City,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “36,383 people die each year from gun violence; another 100,120 are injured. While New York City stands out for its common sense gun laws and declining homicide rate, a critical loophole in gun safety has emerged in the form of ghost guns.”
“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.”
“We’re thrilled to see this legislation being taken up by the City Council this week,” said June Rubin, New York City resident and volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill would protect our communities by preventing people from building guns that cannot be traced by law enforcement. It’s encouraging to see the City Council take action to prevent gun violence, and we thank Councilmembers Rosenthal and Miller for their leadership on this issue. We urge Councilmembers to pass these critical measures through the Committee on Public Safety and to move for a full Council vote in the coming weeks.”
Council Members Miller and Rosenthal have also introduced a resolution (866) 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.