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AG Nessel Calls On U.S. Attorney General To Close Ghost Gun Loophole

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 17 other attorneys general in issuing a letter calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to close the loophole in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) interpretation of the federal Gun Control Act that allows criminals, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers of firearms to evade common-sense gun laws and purchase 80 percent receivers, which can be easily assembled into un-serialized and untraceable ghost guns.

Ghost guns typically start as "80 percent receivers" that are often sold in kits without background checks. Currently, ATF's interpretation allows 80 percent receiver kits to be sold online and at gun shows throughout the country without background checks. They are also not required to use serial numbers, making them untraceable by law enforcement after being assembled.

"This loophole is particularly concerning as it allows purchasers to circumvent common sense gun laws," Nessel said. "These weapons should be subject to the same regulations that all other firearms already are."

The attorneys general are calling on U.S. Attorney General Garland to issue a new interpretation of the Gun Control Act that will include 80 percent receivers in the category of firearms that require background checks.

Attorney General Nessel is joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawai'i, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington in issuing this letter.

A copy of the letter is available here.

The regulation of these ghost guns is a priority for the Department. Attorney General Nessel previously joined a coalition in support of states' right to enforce laws against 3D-printed ghost gun files. In addition, Nessel joined a coalition in urging the ATF to properly regulate ghost guns.