The Biden administration has dialed up its crackdown on so-called “ghost guns” by issuing guidance that basically expands the definition of what “readily converted” means in a new federal rule and making more do-it-yourself pistol parts subject to restrictions.
In an open letter to firearms dealers (pdf) dated Dec. 27, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) told firearm vendors that nearly-complete handgun frames or receivers—basically the pistol grip and firing mechanism—will be treated the same as fully completed firearms.
Ghost Gun Rule
Firearm vendors who sell near-complete pistol frames and receivers—often as kits that can be relatively easily turned into untraceable homemade guns—were hit with the new rule in August, which required that frames and receivers that could be “readily converted” into fully operational guns are subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms.
The August regulation, dubbed the Ghost Gun Rule, meant that kits containing partially complete frames or receivers plus assembly tools and instructions were subject to licensing, background check, and serialization requirements.
But ambiguity around the definition of the word “readily” in the regulation meant that some vendors continued to sell nearly-complete unserialized frames and receivers as standalone products while additional components needed to finalize their at-home manufacture were offered separately, or by third parties.
Such was the argument made in an October letter (pdf) by a dozen or so Democrat lawmakers to the ATF and Justice Department, which claimed that a number of ghost gun companies were continuing to sell unserialized frames and receivers by interpreting “readily” in a way that amounted to a loophole.