Next week, new federal laws will go into effect in an effort to stop the spread of “ghost guns,” or untraceable, privately made firearms.
Ghost gun sellers are now stepping up their efforts to liquidate stock before the new law goes into force.
When the rule was originally publicized in early April, sales of ghost gun kits increased; as of right now, they are all sold out, a company spokesman reported.
Businesses who sell the untraceable handguns are scrambling to get rid of inventory as new federal laws on so-called ghost guns are slated to go into force the next week.
By making individuals who sell ghost firearms to adhere to the same laws and regulations as legitimate gun sellers in the US, the new regulations from the Biden administration, which are scheduled to go into effect on Wednesday, will significantly reduce the spread of ghost guns.
The weapons don’t have serial numbers and are put together from kits. According to authorities, they draw criminals and extremists. Their components are available as DIY kits online or in stores, and no background check is necessary to buy them. They just take 30 minutes to construct into functional weapons.
The new regulation will “play a crucial role in preventing convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other banned persons from obtaining these firearms,” according to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives spokesperson. The agency will be able “to trace these guns when employed in crimes” thanks to it as well.
The new laws require serial numbers on all parts used in the creation of ghost firearms, federal licensing for producers and dealers, and background checks for buyers.
Ghost gun dealers are stepping up efforts to sell inventory with just a few days left before the law goes into force. A live countdown display on the homepage of online retailer GhostGuns.com reminds customers of the day the limitations go into force. When the rule was originally issued in early April, the company noticed an increase in sales for their ghost gun kits, and it eventually ran out of them, a representative told CNBC. The spokesman stated that the countdown aims to “increase awareness and sales.”
Until the day the rule takes effect, the website 80percentarms.com, which sells some firearms that are already 80% constructed, promises to keep shipping phantom weapons.
A similar online retailer, 80-lower.com, promotes “fast shipping” on items that are “delivered in discreet boxes,” and according to a statement on its website, the business is “prepared to fight this final rule” and has been collaborating with a legal team and other organizations to “block this rule from taking effect.” The National Rifle Association, the largest pro-gun organization in the nation, has denounced the ghost gun law.
CNBC reached out to 80percentarms.com and 80-lower.com for feedback, but neither company responded right away.
In recent years, interest in ghost weapons has exploded. The White House reports that the number of ghost weapons submitted to the ATF has multiplied tenfold since 2016. The White House noted that the ATF received reports of almost 20,000 suspected ghost gun recoveries just last year.
The sale of phantom weapons is already being restricted or outright prohibited in ten states and the District of Columbia.
Attorney General Karl Racine of the District of Columbia successfully sued the manufacturer and distributor of ghost guns, Polymer80.
By falsely asserting that ghost gun kits could be purchased in Washington, DC, Polymer80 was found to have violated local consumer protection regulations. Numerous clients in the city purchased items from the business, including through its website. The city received an injunction requiring Polymer80 to pay fines totaling more than $4 million.
In a statement to CNBC, Racine stated, “These weapons are unlicensed, undetectable, and untraceable, and must be subject to regulation just like other guns.”
He said that he supports the new federal laws.
“We must support federal efforts to prevent the flow of ghost firearms, which can be readily smuggled over state boundaries,” Racine said. “As the nation and the District face a gun violence epidemic,” she added. “Keeping to this guideline is essential to ensuring the safety of our residents.”
Inquiries from CNBC about Polymer80’s comments on the lawsuit and impending regulatory change were not answered.
Although the new regulation will control ghost gun sales in the future, it is unknown how many ghost firearms are now in use.
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