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house Bill H.R. 1266

Should Purchases of Untraceable, Homemade 'Ghost Guns' be Subject to Federal Background Checks?

Argument in favor

Untraceable guns pose a serious safety threat to communities, as they are more likely than registered guns to be used in violent crimes. Subjecting gun parts and kits’ sales to federal background checks will make these sales traceable and therefore safer for communities.

jimK's Opinion
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11/28/2019
The only absolutely essential part of any firearm is the barrel because that is the part that contains the fired projectile, contains the pressure developed to force the projectile to gain it’s exit speed, and guides the bullet in the direction of the target. It would be much simpler to require any ‘barrel’ or part that includes a ‘barrel’ to be considered a gun and have great same regulations and restrictions as any like firearm. There are too many ‘whereas’ and ‘what for’ details in too much legislation that only leaves too many loopholes. Keep it simple by going to the heart of the matter and make it difficult to find loopholes.
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Kathi13's Opinion
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11/28/2019
All gun sales must be subject to background checks.
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Rebecca's Opinion
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11/28/2019
Yes why ask a question like that all guns should require background checks weather bought or made
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Argument opposed

There is already a federal law that bars the manufacture, sale, or possession of an undetectable firearm. Ghost guns, which fall under this definition, should be regulated under that existing law, rather than under a new law that may be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

David's Opinion
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11/28/2019
Folks, we have our Constitution, the law of the land. If you want to change it, then propose an amendment, until then, get off the backs of us law-abiding citizens. How about doing something about the mass murders going on in our major (Democrat controlled) cities!? To difficult!? You’d rather go after us and pretend that you “did something!?”
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Jim2423's Opinion
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11/28/2019
If you can afford this devise, you are smart and intelligent enough to build your own weapon. Because you are not going to sell it or use it for a negative reason.
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JTJ's Opinion
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11/28/2019
Is this actually a problem? Or are lefties just trying to push more gun legislation any way they can.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 14th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1266?

This bill — known as the Ghost Guns are Guns Act — would broaden the definition of “firearm” in the federal criminal code to include any combination of parts designed and intended to convert a device into a firearm, and from which a firearm may be assembled. It’d also require background checks for firearms purchases to buyers of firearms kits. Under current law, the purchase of gun assembly kits is permitted without a background check.

Impact

Firearms kit purchasers; federal background checks for firearms purchases; ghost guns; and law enforcement.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1266

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to ensure that individuals who'd be otherwise barred from purchasing firearms can't purchase gun assembly kits online under the "ghost guns" loophole. In a letter to his Congressional colleagues seeking cosponsors for this bill, he wrote

"Currently, individuals can purchase gun assembly kits off the web without undergoing a background check.  Under existing law, these gun assembly kits, which are subject to almost no regulation, are not legally considered guns because they arrive in pieces, as opposed to being a finished product.  As a result, individuals who otherwise would not be able to pass a background check or would be disqualified due to other factors, can purchase these gun assembly kits and build their own 'ghost guns.' Guns assembled using these kits have garnered the title of 'ghost guns' because they often times are completely untraceable.  In many instances, these firearms are assembled using a receiver that does not have a serial number, making it almost impossible for law enforcement officials to trace the gun back to its owner.  Since becoming more available, “ghost guns” have been used more often in violent crimes.  These easily accessible firearms pose serious safety concerns to our communities and law enforcement. In order to directly deal with the issue, the Ghost Guns Are Guns Act would change existing gun law by closing the 'ghost gun' loophole. This legislation would simply require that individuals purchasing gun assembly kits be subject to the same background checks that apply to people buying fully-assembled firearms.  This is a reasonable, commonsense change that will help prevent people who would otherwise not qualify to purchase a gun from doing so."

Last Congress, Rep. Espaillat introduced this bill to close the “ghost guns” loophole which allows purchasers to avoid federal background checks by buying unassembled firearms online:

“It is a little known fact that individuals who would otherwise be barred from purchasing firearms still have the ability to purchase a gun assembly kit online. Guns assembled using these kits are called ghost guns because they are often times completely untraceable, assembled using a receiver that does not have a serial number, and are almost impossible to be tracked by law enforcement.  The Ghost Guns Are Guns Act closes this loophole as these guns are more often used in violent crimes and pose serious safety concerns to our communities and law enforcement.”

Breitbart's Second Amendment columnist, AWR Hawkins, points out that assembling guns from kits is "a legal endeavor that law-abiding citizens enjoy." He also takes umbrage with Rep. Espaillat's framing of this issue, which he believes is prejudicial in that it implies "citizens are skirting the system." He also argues that there's no evidence that guns built from kits are more likely to be used in violent crimes.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), the most influential pro-gun lobbying organization in the United States, hasn’t taken a public stance on this legislation. However, it’s worth noting that: 1) the NRA was part of crafting a 1988 law making the sale of untraceable firearms illegal, and 2) the NRA’s current spokesperson, Dana Loesch, has expressed support for untraceable 3D-printed guns, calling attempts to restrict 3D gun blueprint access “as unenforceable as trying to institute bans on magazine capacity” and calling 3D-printed guns symbols of “freedom and innovation.” Loesch has further stated that, since there are already laws that unsuccessfully try to stop criminals from getting guns, it’d be impossible to control the creation of 3D-printed guns anyway.

This bill has 15 Democratic cosponsors in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, it had 25 Democratic cosponsors and didn't receive a committee vote.


Of Note: Under current law, people can purchase gun-assembly kits online and at stores without a screening process.

The term “ghost gun” first popped up into the political lexicon in 2014, when California Sen Kevin de Leon (D-CA) backed a proposal to regulate unserialized firearms made out of unfinished gun parts through the state Department of Justice. After repeated efforts, California adopted a series of new requirements on these homemade guns in 2016.

Other states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, have followed California’s lead on ghost guns. In June 2018, New Jersey’s attorney general sent warning letters to manufacturers of “ghost guns” and state lawmakers pursued a formal ban on the sale of firearm parts used to make untraceable homemade guns. New Jersey’s Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, targeted companies advertising online for the sale of “unregistered and unserialized firearms — including assault weapons — constructed, at least in part, by the purchaser.”

The ghost gun issue has been brought to the forefront by the current debate over 3D-printed guns, which are becoming increasingly accessible as 3D-printing technology itself becomes cheaper and more accessible. On July 30, 2018, a federal judge temporarily delayed this future by blocking the release of controversial blueprints for 3D-printed guns — but the debate is ongoing, and the inevitable improvement and cost reduction of 3D printing may make 3D-printed ghost guns cheap, accessible, and untraceable for would-be criminals in future.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock / mailfor)

AKA

Ghost Guns Are Guns Act

Official Title

To amend title 18, United States Code, to require firearm assembly kits to be considered to be firearms.

    The only absolutely essential part of any firearm is the barrel because that is the part that contains the fired projectile, contains the pressure developed to force the projectile to gain it’s exit speed, and guides the bullet in the direction of the target. It would be much simpler to require any ‘barrel’ or part that includes a ‘barrel’ to be considered a gun and have great same regulations and restrictions as any like firearm. There are too many ‘whereas’ and ‘what for’ details in too much legislation that only leaves too many loopholes. Keep it simple by going to the heart of the matter and make it difficult to find loopholes.
    Like (86)
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    Folks, we have our Constitution, the law of the land. If you want to change it, then propose an amendment, until then, get off the backs of us law-abiding citizens. How about doing something about the mass murders going on in our major (Democrat controlled) cities!? To difficult!? You’d rather go after us and pretend that you “did something!?”
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    All gun sales must be subject to background checks.
    Like (57)
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    If anyone makes a firearm from scratch then they become a manufacturer. I am 💯 % NRA 💯 2nd amendment and from a country with massive gun restrictions, but I could by a gun on the street within 30 minutes. So if you manufacture a firearm without a serial ## then you are 💯 illegal.
    Like (28)
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    Yes why ask a question like that all guns should require background checks weather bought or made
    Like (26)
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    If you can afford this devise, you are smart and intelligent enough to build your own weapon. Because you are not going to sell it or use it for a negative reason.
    Like (17)
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    You need a permit to build a fence Fences don’t kill people Guns, building guns, manufacturing guns need to be held to a much higher standard Keeps rules and regs simple To those that say guns don’t kill people, yes they do - purposely and accidentally Watch a news station other than fox entertainment
    Like (16)
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    Untraceable firearms should be illegal. Evidence clearly shows that more guns = more Americans dead, mainly innocents. This rampant and unregulated arming of America must stop.
    Like (12)
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    Every. Single. Gun. Purchased should have a background check! We register our vehicles.
    Like (12)
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    Is this actually a problem? Or are lefties just trying to push more gun legislation any way they can.
    Like (11)
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    All guns (or at minimum lower receivers) should be registered.
    Like (10)
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    You think 🤔. This is as close we are to an invisible weapon; but it fires visible bullets. Some Legislation doesn’t take but 1 sheet of paper.
    Like (9)
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    My question would be, statistically speaking, how many crimes are committed using these weapons and if they are untraceable, how many arrests were made? Again, drug laws are tough and many want to reduce laws on drug arrests. What makes anyone think this would have any impact whatsoever?
    Like (8)
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    These homemade guns should be illegal. PERIOD
    Like (8)
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    Yes, but good fuc#ing luck with that, they can be frigging printed on any 3D printer. The persons who put these plans in the internet should be responsible for the killings perpetrated by users of those untraceable guns.
    Like (7)
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    This is were we need to have some type of control of firearm manufacturing!
    Like (7)
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    ALL GUNS AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!
    Like (7)
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    For goodness sake of course they should!
    Like (7)
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    What kind of question is this. Mass shootings everyday in this country, more children killed this year than soldiers deployed killed and this question comes up. Don’t we have enough guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them?? What is wrong with the people who don’t follow the law now to do background checks & report people who should not have any weapon. # 1. No ghost guns at all. - if they are allowed which is ridiculous, owners must have background checks. This is ridiculous.
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    It’s a gun... right?
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