Home LATEST NEWS Joe Biden announces regulations against so-called “ghost weapons”

Joe Biden announces regulations against so-called “ghost weapons”

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From now on, firearms that can be easily assembled at home and that are without serial numbers, and therefore difficult to trace, will be subject to the same requirements as pre-assembled firearms available for purchase, the American president indicated during an event bringing together survivors and relatives of shooting victims in the Rose Garden of the White House.

This new requirement will apply to weapons made from spare parts, kits or 3D printers, said the White House, which presented them as the weapons of choice for criminals.

Law enforcement is sounding the alarmsaid Joe Biden, noting that the number of these weapons spotted and then reported by law enforcement has increased tenfold in five years, between 2016 and 2021.

Our communities pay the pricehe lamented, promising that the new rules would save lives.

Dealers will now have to do background checks on potential buyers or even include a serial number on component parts like the frame or receiver.

Finally, to bolster tracing efforts, federally licensed firearms dealers will be required to keep their records for as long as they remain in business, not just 20 years.

While saying he supports the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which proclaims the right to own a gun, Joe Biden criticized the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), for calling his regulations aextreme.

Is it extreme to protect the police? To protect our children? […] It’s not extreme, it’s common sense. »

A quote from Joe Biden, President of the United States

Regulations will make it more difficult for criminals […] obtaining non-traceable firearmswill improve the work of law enforcement officials, as they will be able to retrieve the information they need to solve crimesand will help reduce the number of untraceable firearms flooding our communitiessaid US Attorney General Merrick Garland.

It will enter into force 120 days after its date of publication in the federal register.

Joe Biden, who has once called gun violence an “epidemic,” also reiterated his calls for Congress to ban the sale of assault rifles or impose a universal system of criminal and psychiatric background checks on gun buyers.

These calls are similar to pious wishes given the limited room for maneuver of the Democrats in Congress, in particular in the face of certain elected Republicans fiercely opposed to any supervision.

Joe Biden has also revealed the name of his candidate to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Steve Dettelbach, a former Ohio prosecutor.

This is his second attempt to fill this position. The first, with a staunch supporter of regulation as a candidate, had failed, for lack of support in Congress and in the face of a virulent campaign from the firearms lobby.

Applause and protest

Gun advocacy groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, which for years have pressed the federal government to pass measures for better gun control, applauded the Biden administration’s move.

Ghost weapons look like guns, they shoot like guns, and they kill like guns, but so far they haven’t been regulated like gunssaid Everytown president John Feinblatt, alluding to a well-known English expression.

The pro-arms organizations, for their part, quickly stepped up to the plate.

The group Gun Owners of America announced that it would immediately challenge the measure.

The actions of [Joe] Biden on gun control will please wealthy gun control supporters. But this action sends the wrong message to violent criminals, as this ban will not affect them.for his part supported the National Rifle Association in a statement, accusing the president of not having never supported the Second Amendment.

Weapons increasingly used

A multi-part, buildable weapon sits on a table in the White House Rose Garden.

The White House showed the type of weapons targeted by the new regulations.

Photo: Reuters/KEVIN LAMARQUE

Given the lack of traceability, it is impossible to know how many of these weapons are in circulation, but law enforcement agencies across the country have reported an increase in the number of weapons recovered.

Between 2016 and 2020, law enforcement recovered approximately 20,000 of these ghost weapons through criminal investigations and reported them to theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In 2021, nearly 24,000 phantom weapons had been recovered and then reported, according to statistics released by the White House.

Applauding the new measure, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who was present at the White House during Joe Biden’s announcement, said Philadelphia police had seen an almost 500% increase in the number of phantom weapons recovered in the past two years.

Between January 2016 and December 2021, theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives only succeeded in tracing the owner of a ghost weapon in 0.98% of cases.

According to the organization Gun Violence Archive, more than 11,700 people have died by firearm since the beginning of the year in the United States, including suicides. For the whole of 2021, the death toll reached 45,000, according to the same site.

Despite recent increases in violent crime and unabated mass shootings, legislative proposals to reform gun laws have stalled for a decade. Executive orders have faced headwinds in federal courts.

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