Biden announces fed's final 'ghost gun' ruling amid pressure to address surge in violent crime

The constitutionality of the new rule is already being challenged by gun rights group.

President Biden officially announced Monday in a White House Rose Garden event that his administration's formal rule on so-called "ghost guns," essential DIY weapons without a serial number that have increasingly been linked to violent crime.

The administration has been working on the rule for nearly a year, amid opposition from the gun lobby and 2nd Amendment activists, as well as pressure to slow the recent surge in violent crime in the U.S. 

"If you buy a couch you have to assemble, it's still a couch, Biden said Monday while displaying a do-it-yourself gun kit. "If you order a package like this one over here that includes that parts that you need and directs the assembly of a functioning firearm, you bought a gun

"It doesn't take very long. Anyone can order it in the mail."

The new rule in part changes the definition of a firearm under federal law to include unfinished parts, like the frame of a handgun or the receiver of a long gun, according to the Associated Press.

Congressional Democrats and such influential gun safety groups as Everytown for Gun Safety have for months been pushing for the Justice Department to finish the rule, while gun-rights groups prepare to oppose its implementation.

Gun Owners of America vowed that it would immediately take legal action against the rule, arguing it violates the U.S. Constitution and several federal laws, the wire service also reports.

Justice Department statistics show that from from 2016 to 2020 nearly 24,000 ghost guns were recovered at crime scenes and reported to the government. However, exact numbers are difficult to acquire in part because in many cases local police don’t contact the federal government about such guns because they can’t be traced.

In the new rule, manufacturers also must conduct buyer background checks before a sale as they do with other commercially made firearms. The requirement applies to all firearm, meaning it includes ghost guns made from individual parts, kits or by 3D-printers, the Associated Press also reports

The president also named Steve Dettelbach, a former U.S. attorney for Ohio, as his nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Biden's first nominee to that position – David Chipman – was forced to withdraw as he faced unsurmountable opposition in the Senate.