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DC AG Racine Leads Amicus Coalition Against Ghost Guns

  • District of Columbia AG Karl Racine led an attorneys general coalition of nineteen states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief in support of a Final Rule promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that clarifies definitions in the Gun Control Act (GCA) that make it applicable to so-called “ghost guns,” a rulemaking that had been challenged in federal court in Texas. Ghost guns are firearms with no serial numbers that have been assembled from kits or partially complete frames or receivers. These weapons currently can be purchased with no background checks.
  • Specifically, the AG amici argue in support of a definition of the term “firearm” within the GCA that includes kits and receivers/frames if these items can easily be converted into working firearms. Application of this definition would make kits and receivers/frames subject to the same requirements for serial numbers and background checks as complete, working weapons, and ensure that law enforcement officers can trace any self-made guns that are later used in a crime.
  • The brief also argues that the ATF’s Final Rule fits squarely within the GCA’s purpose of closing loopholes resulting from the current patchwork of inconsistent state laws, and providing the same solution to the problem of ghost guns that the GCA originally applied to interstate gun shipments. The brief also argues that the Final Rule provides critical support to existing state efforts to regulate firearms, and directly addresses the exponentially growing number of unserialized firearms nationwide.