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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Gutowski: What's in Biden's "Ghost Gun" Kit Ban

 (Editor's note: The article discussed here is part of the Member Exclusives at

Earlier today, The Reload founder, Stephen Gutowski posted an analysis of what's in Joe Biden's rule that redefines the definition of a firearm under federal law and thus expanding ATF’s power.  According to Gutowski, the bulk of the rule did not change much from when he posted a leaked draft of the rule last year. He notes that ATF did modify significant portions, and clarified others, however. He wrote that in some things, ATF has pulled back, while expanding their "theoretical" authority in others. Below is a list of things included in the new rule that Gustowski discusses:

Expanding the ATF’s Power to Determine What is a Receiver or Frame:

The most significant change is in vastly expanding the definition of what could constitute a regulatable “firearm” under federal law. While this hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention in the political sphere, it is really the core of this new rule. That’s because, in recent years, the ATF and Department of Justice have run into legal trouble over how they’ve long applied the definition of “firearm.”

Banning “Ghost Gun” Kits:

The other aspect of the definition change in the rule deals with an even greater expansion of the ATF’s authority. This time into the territory of determining what’s “readily convertible” into a firearm frame or receiver. The target is unfinished and unserialized “ghost guns.”

Homemade Guns Are Transferable, Even Sellable:

Somewhat surprisingly, the rule also explicitly states that homemade guns (which they call Privately Made Firearms or PMFs) are legal to both make and sell. The ATF points out that people who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing guns due to a disqualifying criminal or mental health record can legally build them in most states. They can even give or sell them to other people depending on the circumstances.

Increasing How Long Gun Dealers Have to Keep Background Check Records:

If the PMF serialization requirement sounds like extra work, mainly for licensed dealers, that’s because it is. The same is true for the new record-keeping requirements in the rule.

Reducing Silencer Regulation:

The rule isn’t all about implementing more burdens on gun owners and the industry, though. The ATF is also seeking to reduce the amount of paperwork and regulation involved in silencer manufacturing, dealing, and ownership. Instead of treating every part of a silencer, often called suppressors, the same as a fully completed and functional silencer, the ATF wants to pick just the outer tube as the regulated part.

Gutowski closes by noting that while Biden announced the rule last week, it has not been published in the federal registry. After the publication, it is going to face lawsuits from multiple pro-rights organizations that could delay the rule's implementation or repeal it out right.

Th article expands on each of the topics beyond what is shared above.  If you want to read the entire article and full analysis, as well receive more of his member exclusives, you can subscribe to The Reload.

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