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house Bill H.R. 1278

Should Purchases of Untraceable, Homemade “Ghost Guns” be Subject to Federal Background Checks?

Argument in favor

Untraceable guns pose a serious safety threat to communities, as they are more likely than registered guns to be used in violent crimes. Subjecting gun parts and kits’ sales to federal background checks will make these sales traceable and therefore safer for communities.

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08/03/2018
If I have to register my car, insure it and have a license then gun purchasers should go through background checks.
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Chickie's Opinion
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08/03/2018
I strongly protest this software! Why are we bent on destroying one another?
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Jamie's Opinion
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08/03/2018
Absolutely. These weapons should be treated no differently than other weapons. Consider if the major manufacturers decide to mass-produce these weapons, the governing laws would essentially be irrelevant. After all, the second amendment refers to a “well regulated” militia.
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Argument opposed

There is already a federal law that bars the manufacture, sale, or possession of an undetectable firearm. Ghost guns, which fall under this definition, should be regulated under that existing law, rather than under a new law that may be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

Brian's Opinion
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08/03/2018
There is already a federal law that bars the manufacture, sale, or possession of an undetectable firearm. Ghost guns, which fall under this definition, should be regulated under that existing law, rather than under a new law that may be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.
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ThePoopsmith's Opinion
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08/03/2018
People are allowed to legally make guns at home, and I don't see there being a difference. I'm all for gun control, but this is an unfounded fear.
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Jim2423's Opinion
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08/03/2018
Let’s not become paranoid, there is already a law that prohibits the manufacture of any weapon without being a licensed and registered manufacturer. Doubling up on laws just sides into our present administrations one law in, one law out. Stop glory hounding yourselves with redundant laws.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1278?

This bill — known as the Ghost Guns are Guns Act — would broaden the definition of “firearm” in the federal criminal code to include any combination of parts designed and intended to convert a device into a firearm, and from which a firearm may be assembled. It’d also require background checks for firearms purchases to buyers of firearms kits. Under current law, the purchase of gun assembly kits is permitted without a background check.

Impact

Firearms kit purchasers; federal background checks for firearms purchases; ghost guns; and law enforcement.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1278

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) introduced this bill to close the “ghost guns” loophole which allows purchasers to avoid federal background checks by buying unassembled firearms online:

“It is a little known fact that individuals who would otherwise be barred from purchasing firearms still have the ability to purchase a gun assembly kit online. Guns assembled using these kits are called ghost guns because they are often times completely untraceable, assembled using a receiver that does not have a serial number, and are almost impossible to be tracked by law enforcement.  The Ghost Guns Are Guns Act closes this loophole as these guns are more often used in violent crimes and pose serious safety concerns to our communities and law enforcement.”

The National Rifle Association (NRA), the most influential pro-gun lobbying organization in the United States, hasn’t taken a public stance on this legislation. However, it’s worth noting that: 1) the NRA was part of crafting a 1988 law making the sale of untraceable firearms illegal, and 2) the NRA’s current spokesperson, Dana Loesch, has expressed support for untraceable 3D-printed guns, calling attempts to restrict 3D gun blueprint access “as unenforceable as trying to institute bans on magazine capacity” and calling 3D-printed guns symbols of “freedom and innovation.” Loesch has further stated that, since there are already laws that unsuccessfully try to stop criminals from getting guns, it’d be impossible to control the creation of 3D-printed guns anyway.

There are 17 cosponsors of this bill,all of whom are Democrats.


Of Note: Under current law, people can purchase gun-assembly kits online and at stores without a screening process.

The term “ghost gun” first popped up into the political lexicon in 2014, when California Sen Kevin de Leon (D-CA) backed a proposal to regulate unserialized firearms made out of unfinished gun parts through the state Department of Justice. After repeated efforts, California adopted a series of new requirements on these homemade guns in 2016.

Other states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, have followed California’s lead on ghost guns. In June 2018, New Jersey’s attorney general sent warning letters to manufacturers of “ghost guns” and state lawmakers pursued a formal ban on the sale of firearm parts used to make untraceable homemade guns. New Jersey’s Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, targeted companies advertising online for the sale of “unregistered and unserialized firearms — including assault weapons — constructed, at least in part, by the purchaser.”

The ghost gun issue has been brought to the forefront by the current debate over 3D-printed guns, which are becoming increasingly accessible as 3D-printing technology itself becomes cheaper and more accessible. On July 30, 2018, a federal judge temporarily delayed this future by blocking the release of controversial blueprints for 3D-printed guns — but the debate is ongoing, and the inevitable improvement and cost reduction of 3D printing may make 3D-printed ghost guns cheap, accessible, and untraceable for would-be criminals in future.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock / mailfor)

AKA

Ghost Guns Are Guns Act

Official Title

To amend title 18, United States Code, to require firearm assembly kits to be considered to be firearms.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 1st, 2017
    If I have to register my car, insure it and have a license then gun purchasers should go through background checks.
    Like (183)
    Follow
    Share
    There is already a federal law that bars the manufacture, sale, or possession of an undetectable firearm. Ghost guns, which fall under this definition, should be regulated under that existing law, rather than under a new law that may be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.
    Like (36)
    Follow
    Share
    I strongly protest this software! Why are we bent on destroying one another?
    Like (80)
    Follow
    Share
    Absolutely. These weapons should be treated no differently than other weapons. Consider if the major manufacturers decide to mass-produce these weapons, the governing laws would essentially be irrelevant. After all, the second amendment refers to a “well regulated” militia.
    Like (62)
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    Share
    All these people saying you can’t regulate a person’s privacy are probably the same people telling me what to do in my doctor’s office. Get guns off our streets.
    Like (37)
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    Background checks should be required to own absolutely any firearm.
    Like (27)
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    People are allowed to legally make guns at home, and I don't see there being a difference. I'm all for gun control, but this is an unfounded fear.
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    Let’s not become paranoid, there is already a law that prohibits the manufacture of any weapon without being a licensed and registered manufacturer. Doubling up on laws just sides into our present administrations one law in, one law out. Stop glory hounding yourselves with redundant laws.
    Like (14)
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    The nra is nothing more than a terrorist organization.
    Like (14)
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    More and more Americans are in favor of common sense gun control laws with each and every mass shooting event, yet the NRA shills in the Republican party much prefer collecting huge sums of blood-money than to promote and protect the will of their constituencies. Such legislators are cowards and should not be re-elected.
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    Ok Dim Wits! How do you enforce a background check on something that is untraceable!
    Like (10)
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    Let’s focus on things that are enforceable. There is no way to enforce regulations on what people do in the privacy of their homes, nor should we.
    Like (9)
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    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall NOT be infringed.
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    A government that is not afraid of the civilian citizens with the borders of its control is not a good or appropriate government to be a citizen supporter of. George Orwell warned us about such government oppression with 2 books titled "1984" and, "Animal Farm" we are watching America descend such a path in slow legal control motion by means of mass media dstraction being used to create voter apathy and incremental loss of civilian citizens rights by means of creating laws by activists with large cash flow abilities to disenfranchise we the people from our God given duty to keep our elected leaders our servants instead of allowing ourselves to be turned into their slaves.
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    Are they so naive that they cannot see the danger here...even to themselves? This should not even be a question, they ought to be outright banned. Many people can learn this technology, many already do. What a boon to the black market!!
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    Of course these weapons should be illegal. The idea that someone should be able to make their own guns, by any method, and not be subject to gun laws is absurd.
    Like (6)
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    How can this be a question? Of course there should be background checks for ALL gun purchases! We need to respect these deadly weapons for what they are and handle them with the greatest care and caution.
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    Keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.
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    You can vote ‘Yes’ but there’s not enough money in the world to enforce your pipe dream.
    Like (5)
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    The fact that this isn’t a “no brainer” for some people is terrifying
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