Biden Announces New "Ghost Gun" Rule, Names New ATF Nominee
Update (1910 ET): Hours after President Biden held up a Polymer80 80% lower pistol kit in the White House Rose Garden for the world to see while announcing new regulations on so-called "ghost guns" (unserialized lower receivers), Americans panic bought ghost guns.
Every pistol and AR-platform 80% lower kit was sold out on Polymer80's website as of Monday evening.
Sold Out: 80% Lowers For Pistol
Sold Out: 80% Lowers For AR-Platforms
Biden appears to be one heck of a ghost gun salesman today.
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Update (1550ET): Summarizing this afternoon's press conference in the Rose Garden, President Biden and the Justice Department announced new steps at regulating unserialized 80% lower kits.
The new rule, published by the Justice Department, requires manufacturers of 80% lower kits to include serial numbers. Gun shops will be forced to conduct background checks for anyone wanting to purchase these kits.
"It's going to help save lives, reduce crime and get more criminals off the streets," Biden said. "If you commit a crime with a ghost gun, expect federal prosecution."
The president picked up an 80% lower of a pistol and said: "This is the gun ... It's not hard to put together ... Doesn't take very long. Anyone could order it."
Biden also asked Congress to do more to combat gun violence, including passing universal background checks, banning assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines.
Also, Steve Dettelbach was introduced as the new nominee for the ATF head.
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Update (1503ET): President Biden announces Steve Dettelbach, a former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, as the next nominee to head ATF.
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Update (1452ET): President Biden said it would be illegal for non-licensed gun manufacturers to make 80% lower kits. He also said gun shops would need to require background checks for anyone wanting to purchase these kits. Each kit will need to include a serial number (like a regular gun).
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Update (1447ET): Here's the full text of the new ATF firearm regulation.
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Update (1440ET): Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced that new 80% lower kits will be serialized.
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Update (1434ET): Vice President Kamala Harris addresses an audience on "ghost guns." Next to Harris on a table are several Polymer80 lower 80% kits.
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Update (1410ET): President Biden and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will formally unveil new federal regulations targeting 80% lower kits, otherwise known as "ghost guns," in the Rose Garden at 2:15 PM.
Under the new rules, 80% lower kits must be produced by licensed gun manufacturers and include serial numbers, which means background checks will be needed.
The rule will update the regulatory definitions of "frame" and "receiver."
Not everyone is thrilled about Biden's new rules. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY.) tweeted Sunday night:
"The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to prevent you from making your own firearm. This a fact that has been recognized for 200+ years. Also, Article 1, Section 1 (literally the first operative sentence in the Constitution) says Congress makes law, not POTUS!"
Biden is also expected to announce that Steve Dettelbach, a former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will be his nominee to head the ATF.
Watch Live: Biden Announces New Action On Ghost Guns
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Today will be a big day for the Biden administration as the long-awaited rule on "ghost guns" will be formally revealed by the president. There's also word a new nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) will be announced.
USA Today reports President Biden and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will unveil new rules targeting do-it-yourself kits, otherwise known as 80% lowers. The lower receivers come unserialized and take a few hours of drilling and assembling an upper receiver to produce a fully functional firearm. The weapons contain no serial number, making it challenging for the government to track and trace.
USA Today said the announcement would be made "during a Rose Garden ceremony," suggesting Biden's anti-gun coalition groups would be in attendance.
Ahead of Biden's announcement, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) published a press release with new details of how it "will submit to the Federal Register the "Frame or Receiver" Final Rule, which modernizes the definition of a firearm."
The DoJ said once the new rule is implemented, "parts kits that are readily convertible to firearms are subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms." This means that 80% lower kits and other parts kits will require background checks.
"One year ago, the Department committed to address the proliferation of ghost guns used in violent crimes," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
"This rule will make it harder for criminals and other prohibited persons to obtain untraceable guns, will help ensure that law enforcement officers can retrieve the information they need to solve crimes, and will help reduce the number of untraceable firearms flooding our communities.
"I commend all our colleagues at the ATF who have worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to get this important rule finalized, and to do it in a way that respects the rights of law-abiding Americans," Garland said.
The new rule goes into effect 120 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. In a short bullet point list, the DoJ explains how their new rule will stop the proliferation of ghost guns:
*To help keep guns from being sold to convicted felons and other prohibited purchasers, the rule makes clear that retailers must run background checks before selling kits that contain the parts necessary for someone to readily make a gun.
*To help law enforcement trace guns used in a crime, the rule modernizes the definition of frame or receiver, clarifying what must be marked with a serial number – including in easy to-build firearm kits.
*To help reduce the number of unmarked and hard-to-trace "ghost guns," the rule establishes requirements for federally licensed firearms dealers and gunsmiths to have a serial number added to 3D printed guns or other un-serialized firearms they take into inventory
*To better support tracing efforts, the rule requires federal firearms licensees, including gun retailers, to retain records for the length of time they are licensed, thereby expanding records retention beyond the prior requirement of 20 years. Over the past decade, ATF has been unable to trace thousands of firearms – many reportedly used in homicides or other violent crimes – because the records had already been destroyed. These records will continue to belong to, and be maintained by, federal firearms licensees while they are in business.
Axios reports Steve Dettelbach, a former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will be announced by Biden as his nominee to head the ATF. We noted this would happen last week.
The new ghost gun rule is one of the most significant executive actions pushed forward by the Biden administration to tackle gun violence.