President Biden vowed Monday that new federal regulations aimed at cracking down on untraceable firearms known as “ghost guns” will reduce crime and save lives.
In a Rose Garden ceremony, Mr. Biden announced a series of steps aimed at reining in ghost guns — privately made firearms that don’t have serial numbers, making them nearly impossible for the police to trace.
The new rules will require manufacturers of ghost gun kits to be licensed and add serial numbers to the kits’ frame or the receiver itself. Commercial sellers of the kits will also have to become licensed and run background checks on potential buyers.
“If somebody sells a ghost gun to a federally licensed dealer, …that dealer must take the firearm and mark it with a serial number before reselling it,” Mr. Biden said. “All of a sudden, it’s no longer a ghost. It has a return address.”
“It’s going to help save lives, reduce crimes and get more criminals off the streets,” he continued.
Mr. Biden’s push to crack down on ghost guns comes amid growing concerns about rising crime rates among voters. Democrats in Congress have been pressuring Mr. Biden to take a stronger stance against guns and violent crime.
In addition to the new rules, the Justice Department will also launch a ghost gun enforcement initiative. The program will teach investigators and prosecutors how to build cases against individuals who commit crimes with ghost guns.
“If you commit a crime with a ghost gun, expect federal prosecution,” Mr. Biden said. “This rule is an important step. It’s going to make a difference, I promise you.”
In a related move, Mr. Biden also announced that he is nominating Steve Dettelbach, a former U.S. attorney from Ohio, to serve as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Mr. Biden hailed his nominee’s background in working with law enforcement to combat and prosecute gun cases, but it may not be enough to clear the confirmation gauntlet that others have faced for the ATF’s top job.
“Steve’s record makes him ready on day one to lead this agency,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Dettelbach is the administration’s second nominee to head the ATF. In September, Mr. Biden pulled his first nominee, gun control advocate David Chipman, after his pick was stalled for months amid opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in the Senate.
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In his remarks, Mr. Dettelbach pledged to support the men and women of the ATF.
“Law enforcement is a very tough job and no person and no agency is perfect, but the president is right: The men and women of the ATF and the public they protect deserve better support from us,” he said.