On Monday, President Joe Biden’s White House announced new gun control actions, including cracking down on so-called untraceable “ghost guns,” forcing licensed gun dealers to keep gun purchase records in perpetuity and providing gun buyers’ information to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
According to a White House fact sheet released Monday morning, the Biden administration is banning “the business of manufacturing the most accessible ghost guns, such as unserialized ‘buy build shoot’ kits that individuals can buy online or at a store without a background check and can readily assemble into a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes with equipment they have at home.”
“This rule clarifies that these kits qualify as ‘firearms’ under the Gun Control Act, and that commercial manufacturers of such kits must therefore become licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, and commercial sellers of these kits must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to a sale – just like they have to do with other commercially-made firearms,” the fact sheet said.
The change will require gun owners to submit to a background check when buying serialized parts even if simply buying a part to repair their existing gun.
Under the new rule, federally licensed dealers and gunsmiths will also be required to serialize any “ghost gun” that they take into inventory.
“For example, if an individual builds a firearm at home and then sells it to a pawn broker or another federally licensed dealer, that dealer must put a serial number on the weapon before selling it to a customer,” the White House explained. “This requirement will apply regardless of how the firearm was made, meaning it includes ghost guns made from individual parts, kits, or by 3D-printers.”
Additionally, the Biden administration will require licensed firearms dealers to keep “key records” until they shut down or end licensed activity, at which time all records must be transferred to the ATF.
“Previously, these dealers were permitted to destroy most records after 20 years, making it harder for law enforcement to trace firearms found at crime scenes,” the White House said. “According to ATF’s National Tracing Center, on average more than 1,300 firearms a year are untraceable because the federally licensed firearms dealer destroyed the relevant records that were more than 20 years old.”
The Biden administration has already compiled the records of nearly one billion gun purchases in the United States.
“A federal firearm registry is explicitly banned by law. Yet, the Biden administration is again circumventing Congress and enabling the notably corrupt ATF to manage a database of nearly a billion gun transfer records,” Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX) told the Free Beacon earlier this year.
“Under the president’s watch, the ATF has increased surveillance on American gun owners at an abhorrent level,” he continued. “The Biden administration continues to empower criminals and foreign nationals while threatening the rights of law-abiding Americans. It’s shameful and this administration should reconsider its continued attacks on American gun owners.”
The Firearm Owner’s Protection Act, which became law in 1986, bans the United States or any state from establishing “any system of registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions.”
According to Congress.gov, the bill “Amends the rulemaking authority of the Secretary to provide that no regulation may require: (1) the transfer of records required under this Act to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State; or (2) the establishment of any system of registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions. Requires a 90-day public comment period for proposed regulations.”
Aidan Johnston, Gun Owners of America’s Director of Federal Affairs, said of Biden’s change, “Biden’s proposal to create a comprehensive national gun registry and end the online sale of gun parts without the passage of a new law exemplifies his disregard for the Second Amendment.”
“Congress must provide oversight by striking down ATF’s illegal gun registration rule using the Congressional Review Act and passing Rep. Michael Cloud’s No REGISTRY Rights Act to eliminate ATF’s billion-record gun registry,” Johnston added.
In an op-ed also published on Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland called the Biden administration’s new rules “long overdue.”
“Despite changes in technology, federal regulations that define what a ‘firearm’ is have not been updated in more than 50 years,” he wrote.
“These changes represent only one part of the Justice Department’s efforts to double down on the fight to protect our communities from violent crime and from the gun violence that often drives it,” Garland added. “At the U.S. Department of Justice, we will be tireless in our efforts to put an end to the plague of gun violence and save the lives of those we love.”
Biden will also nominate Steve Dettelbach to serve as Director of the ATF.
“He has a proven track record of working with federal, state, and local law enforcement to fight violent crime and combat domestic violent extremism and religious violence – including through partnerships with the ATF to prosecute complex cases and take down violent criminal gangs,” the White House asserted.