WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) joined a group of 45 lawmakers today in introducing common sense, bicameral legislation to help reduce gun violence and save lives by banning so-called “ghost” guns –undetectable and untraceable firearms.
“The spread of untraceable firearms and their increased popularity among white supremacists pose a significant threat to the safety and well-being of communities across the country,” said Sen. Menendez. “Given this growing threat, we cannot afford to wait any longer to regulate these weapons and ensure federal law treats them as the dangerous and life-threatening firearms they are.”
“We simply can’t afford to stand idly by as the deadly epidemic of gun violence continues to plague our nation,” said Sen. Booker. “With the majority of Americans supporting common sense gun safety measures, it’s past time for our federal government to take the necessary actions to save lives and keep our communities safe, including banning so-called ‘ghost guns.’”
Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced new rulemaking to close the “ghost” gun loophole at the urging of Sen. Menendez by updating the definition of “frame or receiver” to include the kind of “unfinished” component parts frequently sold online and at gun shows, often as part of gun-making kits.
The Untraceable Firearms Act would permanently include the core building blocks of “ghost” guns – unfinished frames and receivers – in the definition of “firearm” under federal law. In doing so, online and other gun kit manufacturers and distributors selling frames and receivers that can “readily” be converted into fully functional components would be required to comply with the same federal regulations that govern the production and distribution of completed firearms.
This includes a requirement that sellers have a manufacturer’s license and put a serial number on the frame or receiver included in each kit, and that purchasers undergo a background check. The bill also incorporates the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act, which would prohibit firearms that can be easily modified to be pass through metal detectors undetected.
The Senate bill is led by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and cosponsored by Sens. Menendez, Booker, Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). The House bill is led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.).
“Our bill would close the ‘ghost’ gun loophole for good. An assault weapon built from a kit ordered online 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,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “There’s nothing ghostly about ‘ghost’ guns – they look like guns, shoot like guns, and kill like guns. Our legislation would ensure that violent extremists, domestic abusers, and foreign terrorists can’t evade background checks and other safety measures by building weapons at home instead of buying them from a store.”
“Gun violence is a public health epidemic in our country. In recent years, the increased presence of ghost guns in our communities has made this problem even worse. These untraceable weapons make it harder for law enforcement to find and prosecute violent criminals,” said Rep. Cicilline. “This legislation will close the ghost gun loophole and make these weapons easier to trace. It’s just commonsense.”
A copy of the bill can be found here.