RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – A coalition of 18 attorneys general sent a letter Call on US Attorney General Merrick Garland to fill the loophole that allows citizens to acquire “ghost guns”.
That loophole is in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm (ATF) ‘s interpretation of the Federal Gun Control Act (GCA), which allows criminals, domestic abusers, and other prohibited buyers of firearms to evade reasonable gun laws, and 80 to buy percent receivers that can be easily assembled into non-serialized and incomprehensible ghost guns.
A weapon is no longer a ghost weapon when a serial number is engraved on the weapon. The number makes the weapon traceable.
Along with Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, the letter is also being signed by attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and North Carolina, Oregon , Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
From the 1980s through the early 2000s, ATF classified the core components of handguns and rifles – frames and receivers – as “firearms,” which are subject to federal regulation if the components can be quickly and easily converted into working weapons.
In 2015 the ATF reversed course. Without making an explanation for the change in position, ATF issued an interpretative rule that said these rifle receivers and pistol frames were not considered firearms. As a result of this unlawful misinterpretation, an industry has emerged in which unlicensed online dealers sell nearly complete weapons directly to consumers.
Gun control laws were passed at Virginia House, head to the Senate
Ghost Guns usually start out as “80 percent receivers,” often sold in kits with no background checking. Currently, ATF’s misinterpretation allows 80 percent of receiver kits to be sold online and at gun shows across the country without a background check.
Ghost Guns do not need to use serial numbers, so law enforcement officials can no longer find them once assembled.
The demand for ghost weapons is increasing, says ATF
The attorneys general are calling on US attorney general Garland to enact a new interpretation of the guns law that includes 80 percent of recipients in the firearms category that requires background checks.