- - Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Now President Biden is gunning for “ghost guns” — guns that don’t even exist yet.  

Recent reports indicate that Mr. Biden’s team is considering executive action to “require buyers of so-called ‘ghost guns’ — unmanufactured non-firearms or non-commercial manufactured firearms — to undergo background checks.”  

These reports follow hot on the heels of a confab between anti-Second Amendment groups and Biden aides, including Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice. Those paying attention might recognize Ms. Rice as the Obama team member selected to lie publicly about the cause of the deadly terror assault on Americans in Benghazi, and the one who lied publicly about Obama team efforts to spy on members of the Trump campaign.  

So it should come as no surprise that the Biden team’s attempt to regulate “unmanufactured non-firearms” is another public deception. “Unmanufactured non-firearms” could refer to virtually anything. You, for instance, are an unmanufactured non-firearm. So is the moon. So is Cardi B’s producer. 

We all know Mr. Biden’s team is referring to 3D-printed gun files and so-called 80% finished firearm pieces sold along with unregulated gun parts, in which an unfinished frame must first be milled, molded or machined before it can be assembled. Such kits allow skilled individuals with the proper tools to build their own guns.  

Those kits are legal under current law. For instance, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) says it has “long held that items such as receiver blanks, ‘castings’ or ‘machined bodies’ in which the fire-control cavity area is completely solid and un-machined have not reached the ‘stage of manufacture’ which would result in the classification of a firearm.”

In fact, the ATF stated as recently as Jan. 11 that “in any event, because receiver blanks do not fall within the plain meaning of the [Gun Control Act’s] definition of ‘firearm,’ the consequences of that definition are for Congress to address.” Thus, the Biden team’s attempt to regulate these kits would literally violate the law.  

Therefore, the ATF should not be permitted to go door-to-door rounding up “ghost guns” or to regulate any non-firearm pieces without the passage of new laws or to re-classify unregulated items — on the fly — that are popular within the shooting community. Operating arbitrarily, Mr. Biden’s team should not engage in the partisan and reckless business of making lawful items unlawful, making lawful companies guilty of felonious behavior, or making lawful purchasers at risk of being visited by armed government agents.

Certainly, such action should not be taken against property that the ATF itself said was lawful to manufacture, sell and possess. So-called “ghost gun” owners and manufacturers reasonably fear the consequences of arbitrary criminalization through potential executive action.

Yet even if Congress were to act, regulating these homemade firearm kits would amount to the government screening purchasers before acquiring nonfunctioning pieces of plastic and metal. The terms used make clear that virtually anything would fall into the new definition — which would give the government the ability to pursue almost anyone who dealt with even potential firearms parts.

That’s why Gun Owners of America has joined Defense Distributed and JSD Supply to write the Biden administration, in order to advocate on behalf of the millions of non-commercial manufacturers of homemade firearms — law-abiding Americans who make up our grassroots supporters and customers. These people are engaging in lawful activities that are as old as our republic itself.

The vast number of persons purchasing non-firearm receiver blanks or manufacturing homemade firearms are law-abiding American citizens who enjoy “do-it-yourself” projects and want to take on the challenge of attempting to manufacture a firearm, as has been legal under federal law literally since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Leave them alone.  

Mr. Biden’s team — and Ms. Rice in particular — should quit gunning for ghost guns. It’s yet another lie they’re telling Americans.  

• John Velleco is the executive vice president for Gun Owners of America, a grassroots lobbying organization with more than 2 million members and supporters nationwide.

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