Press Releases

Legislation would require online and other sellers of gun-making kits to comply with federal firearm safety regulations

Washington–Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) in introducing legislation to ban “ghost” guns. The Untraceable Firearms Act was announced during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee titled “Stop Gun Violence: Ghost Guns.”

“Ghost guns are built from kits or by using 3-D printers,” Feinstein said. “Since the guns come unassembled, they currently aren’t required to have a serial number. This makes them a popular choice for criminals. This commonsense bill will save lives by preventing unmarked guns from flooding our streets.” 

“Our bill would close the ‘ghost’ gun loophole for good. An assault weapon built from a kit ordered online can kill just as many people as one bought in a store – only the DIY version doesn’t require an ID, licensing, or a background check,” Blumenthal said. “There’s nothing ghostly about ‘ghost’ guns – they look like guns, shoot like guns, and kill like guns. Our legislation would ensure that violent extremists, domestic abusers, and foreign terrorists can’t evade background checks and other safety measures by building weapons at home instead of buying them from a store.”    

“Gun violence is a public health epidemic in our country. In recent years, the increased presence of ghost guns in our communities has made this problem even worse. These untraceable weapons make it harder for law enforcement to find and prosecute violent criminals,” said Cicilline. “This legislation will close the ghost gun loophole and make these weapons easier to trace. It’s just commonsense.” 

Last week, the Department of Justice announced a new rule to close the “ghost” gun loophole by updating the definition of “frame or receiver” to include the kind of unfinished component parts frequently sold online and at gun shows, often as part of gun-making kits.

The Untraceable Firearms Act would permanently include the core building blocks of “ghost” guns– unfinished frames and receivers –in the definition of “firearm” under federal law. In doing so, online and other gun kit manufacturers and distributors selling frames and receivers that can “readily” be converted into fully functional components would be required to comply with the same federal regulations that govern the production and distribution of completed firearms.  

This includes a requirement that sellers have a manufacturer’s license, put a serial number on the frame or receiver included in each kit and that purchasers undergo a background check. The bill also incorporates the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act, which would prohibit firearms that can be easily modified to be pass through metal detectors undetected. 

In addition to Feinstein and Blumenthal, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).