The federal government is waging war on “ghost guns,” or ready to assemble firearm kits, also known as “lowers,” or the part of a firearm sitting below the barrel in most configurations. The latest shots have been fired by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is now demanding that the Biden White House crackdown on firearm components.
According to Schumer, because separate components do not require background checks under federal law, they frequently end up in the hands of “spousal abusers” and “felons.” He wants the executive branch to direct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) to classify the “partially complete frames” as firearms under the law to subject purchasers to federal background checks.
Schumer told reporters last week that there is “absolutely no doubt” that “ghost guns” pose a “serious threat to our public safety.” He said that he wants Biden to “close the ghost gun loophole” and to stop ghost guns that are “killing people, particularly our kids.”
In May, the Department of Justice proposed a new rule that would require in-person and online retailers to conduct federal firearms background checks on anyone seeking to purchase components defined as “80 percent lowers.” The proposed rule would also require that serial numbers be added to the frames.
The Machine Gun Nest (TMGN) is a firearms policy advocacy group that warns that such proposed rules will only lead to criminals using 3D printers to create lowers and other firearm components. The group said that the effort to outlaw 3D printing is a losing battle from the start and would end up just like the war on drugs in terms of unenforceability. TMGN asked if the federal government is willing to ban 3D printers from fighting such an unwinnable fight.
Purchases of lowers and firearms kits have spiked in the last two years, along with the sales of traditional firearms. Whether the increases are because of the previous election, the COVID pandemic, or some combination of factors, it is doubtful that American demand for weapons and ammunition is going down anytime soon.