Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are putting pressure on President Joe Biden’s administration to drop its attempts to regulate weapons that people can assemble at home, known as “ghost guns,” The Hill reports.
Last May, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives proposed a rule that classifies a weapon that can be assembled at home as a firearm. This rule would also require sellers of firearm kits to perform a background check on customers before selling to them, and for manufacturers and dealers to “have a serial number added to 3D printed guns or other un-serialized firearms they take into inventory.”
“ATF’s rule appears to be a deliberate attempt to usurp the authority of Congress,” reads a letter from a group of House Republicans on the Judiciary panel, led by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona and ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. It goes on to claim that the rule “unconstitutionally infringed on American citizens’ fundamental Second Amendment rights.”
They add that “this new mandate would greatly expand the statutory requirement that only ‘manufacturers’ and ‘importers’ must mark guns they manufacture or import. To enforce the serialization, ATF seeks to create a new federal crime of obliterating the serial number on a privately made firearm and establish a new category of ‘dealer-gunsmith’ who must mark and record privately made firearms.”
The legislators conclude, “ATF’s proposed regulation creates a new definition to regulate privately made firearms without any statutory authorization from Congress to do so.”
Previously, these types of weapons allowed people who were barred from owning a firearm to avoid a background check. The parts in these kits also typically lacked a serial number, which makes the weapons difficult to track if they’re used in a crime.
“Criminals and others barred from owning a gun should not be able to exploit a loophole to evade background checks and to escape detection by law enforcement. This proposed rule would help keep guns out of the wrong hands and make it easier for law enforcement to trace guns used to commit violent crimes, while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in May.
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