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AG Nessel Joins Coalition of 20 Attorneys General Backing Important New Federal Rule to Regulate Ghost Guns and make Communities Safer

Amicus Brief Continues Efforts to Support Common-Sense Gun Regulations and Improve Public Safety as these Weapons have Proliferated Across the Country

LANSING – Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a group of 20 Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief supporting an important new federal rule regulating “ghost guns”: unserialized weapons that are often made at home from weapon parts kits or partially complete frames and receivers and can be purchased without background checks.

The rule would help ensure that buyers pass background checks before purchasing such kits and that law enforcement officers can trace any self-made guns that are later used in a crime. It would also limit gun traffickers’ ability to distribute these dangerous weapons into Michigan.

“On average, more than 1,200 Michigan residents die each year from gun violence,” Nessel said. “Ghost guns continue to proliferate our streets and I have been asking ATF to close the dangerous loophole that keeps these weapons from being subject to the same regulations as other firearms. So I gladly stand with my colleagues in supporting this new common-sense rule.”

In recent years, Michigan and other states have seen an exponential increase in the number of ghost guns recovered by law enforcement. Absent federal enforcement, these dangerous weapons have continued to proliferate, including in states that have tried to regulate ghost guns themselves. The Final Rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) helps curb this problem by serving as a vital backstop to existing state efforts to stem the flow of ghost guns.

The ATF’s Final Rule regulates ghost guns by clarifying critical definitions in the Gun Control Act. Specifically, the Final Rule makes it clear that weapon parts kits and partially complete frames or receivers—the key building blocks for ghost guns—are “firearms” under the Act if they can be readily converted to function as such. In making this sensible clarification, the Final Rule helps ensure that these kits and partially complete frames or receivers are subject to the same serialization and background check requirements as conventionally manufactured guns. This helps close a dangerous loophole in firearms regulation that enabled people to evade existing gun laws and get their hands on these dangerous weapons.

A copy of the brief is available here.

The brief was led by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and the Attorneys General of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and joined by the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.