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Ghost Guns Are a Major Problem. Responsible Gun Owners Are Demanding Solutions.

By closing a dangerous loophole in our laws, ATF has taken an important step to keep our communities safe

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the number of ghost guns recovered from crime scenes across the country.

Often used by people looking to escape the consequences of their actions, these unregistered, non-serialized firearms have taken hundreds of American lives and harmed countless others.

The problem has been getting worse. But earlier this year, ATF passed a new rule addressing ghost guns by eliminating a dangerous loophole in federal law. This loophole was being exploited by companies selling build-your-own ghost gun kits. The new ATF rule clarifies that these companies must follow the same rules already required for other gun sales—mainly, adding serial numbers and requiring background checks.

As gun owners, we fully support this new rule. Rights come with responsibilities, and if you want to buy (or build) a gun, you should be able to pass a background check. 

But almost immediately, ghost gun companies and extremist groups filed lawsuits challenging the ATF rule, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment by preventing law-abiding Americans from building firearms at home. 

We know this is a lie, and that’s why we filed an amicus brief on behalf of Gun Owners For Safety in one of these cases, pushing back against the corporate gun lobby’s false claims.

What does the ATF rule do?

The ATF rule only applies to “80%” firearm parts and build kits, which require a minimal amount of finishing (maybe a drill hole, here or there) to become functional firearms. Sellers of these kits often provide detailed instructions, with step-by-step guidance and tutorial videos, on how to easily assemble ghost guns using these products. 

The ATF rule says that the companies selling these 80% kits must follow the same rules already in place for other firearms and build kits. This reduces the number of untraceable ghost guns being sold to people with criminal intentions, by requiring: 

  1. A serial number
  2. Sales through federally-licensed vendors
  3. Completion of an ATF form, to record who bought the firearm and when
  4. Completion of a background check

The reality is that the only people negatively affected by the ATF rule are black-market arms traffickers and people who don’t qualify to legally purchase firearms—NOT law-abiding, responsible gun owners. 

What does the ATF’s rule not do?

The ATF rule doesn’t ban homemade firearms or building guns at home. It also doesn’t affect the availability of 80% build kits for law-abiding citizens. 

The rule only regulates unfinished firearm parts that can be “readily” converted into functioning firearms. This does “not include a forging, casting, printing,” or any other material that “has not yet reached a stage of manufacture where it is clearly identifiable as an unfinished component part of a weapon.”

Crafting an artisan gun from scratch, using raw materials, is a high-labor and skill-intensive task that takes many hours. This isn’t covered by the rule at all. The rule also doesn’t affect collectors of antique firearms; replicas of historical weapons from the 19th century and earlier have been explicitly excluded. 

Importantly, the rule also doesn’t affect hobbyists and artisans who wish to craft their own firearms at home. Privately made firearms created by anyone other than a licensed manufacturer are only included if the creator later tries to sell them to others.

Why are gun owners speaking out? 

Gun safety isn’t a Democratic issue, or a Republican issue. Safe and responsible gun ownership is an American issue—one that affects ordinary people around the country, no matter their politics. This is because gun violence doesn’t discriminate between the left and the right. With nearly 50,000 Americans dying from gun violence in 2021, this is a problem that causes harm to us all.

ATF’s rule helps ensure that untraceable ghost guns don’t fall into the hands of criminals, minors, and people attempting to circumvent existing laws. 

That’s why we, as responsible gun owners, commend ATF for taking this important and necessary step towards keeping our communities safe.

STAND UP FOR SAFETY

Americans are not as divided as it may seem. Join Giffords Gun Owners for Safety to stand in support of responsible un ownership. We’ll share ways to connect with fellow gun owners and support our fight for a safer America.