‘Ghost Gun’ Bans Are Doomed from the Start
The problem with imposing legal restrictions intended to stop a practice that is designed to evade legal restrictions is that you were outflanked before you even started. That’s the challenge for President Joe Biden and lawmakers around the country as they consider limits on “ghost guns”—homemade guns that are created, owned, and used off the government’s radar. Do-it-yourself manufacturing has always hobbled authorities’ ability to control things they don’t like, and the modern ghost gun movement specifically evolved to put personal armaments beyond the reach of the state.
“The White House is weighing a number of gun safety proposals as it looks to deliver on President Joe Biden’s campaign promises,” Politico reported this week. “Among the executive actions under consideration by the administration is one that would require buyers of so-called ghost guns — homemade or makeshift firearms that lack serial numbers — to undergo background checks, according to three people who have spoken to the White House about their plans.”
Actually, this is somewhat misleading. Under current federal law (some states have tighter rules) as interpreted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, “[a]n individual may generally make a firearm for personal use. However, individuals engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms for sale or distribution must be licensed by ATF.” Basically, the law already regulates the manufacture of firearms for sale no matter how the gun was created.
Presumably, then, the Biden administration is considering regulating the partial kits that are sold for people to finish and assemble into working firearms. So-called “80 percent receivers” would then be treated as complete firearms—if you could successfully define something that can, with work, be turned into a finished product without also banning materials used in other ways. While we don’t know the administration’s plan, a bill working its way through the Virginia General Assembly specifies, “‘Unfinished frame or receiver’ means a piece of any material that does not constitute the frame or receiver of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun but that has been shaped or formed in any way for the purpose of becoming the frame or receiver of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, and which may readily be made into a functional frame or receiver through milling, drilling, or other means.”
That might successfully target products explicitly marketed as 80 percent receivers, but those are conveniences
Article from Latest – Reason.com