ATF Rule Change Proposed | 80% Lowers Under Fire
"Ghost Guns" and Biden's Attack on an American Tradition
Guns that appear and disappear without a trace—sounds scary, right? Anti-gun advocates and politicians call them "ghost guns," but these firearms are just the modern version of a proud tradition of American individualism. The terms “ghost gun” and "untraceable firearm" are simply more of the alarmist rhetoric surrounding guns we have come to expect from the anti-Second Amendment crowd. However, what has changed is an executive branch which now may have both the desire and the political clout to impose its will on gun owners. In the past, while the ghost gun has drawn the public's attention, it has shown to be difficult for the government to regulate, despite numerous attempts. Why are ghost guns such a high priority target? Why do we need to protect our ability to legally build these firearms?
What is a “Ghost Gun?”
First the basics: what is a ghost gun? The term is thrown around regularly by politicians, but it is not defined in federal law. Colloquially, it refers to firearms built from parts without serial numbers (which are required on firearms made by licensed manufacturers). The argument goes that the availability of the parts allow prohibited persons to easily bypass the National Instant Criminal Background Check System ("NICS") and obtain firearms. The fear is a homemade firearm could be used in a crime and the police could not trace its origin if collected as evidence.
ATF's Proposed Rule Change
On Friday, May 7th, 2021, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (the unelected "ATF") issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to change several definitions which are found in the Code of Federal Regulations. This notice stated the ATF's intent to update the terms "frame" and "receiver" as well as terms contained in those definitions. The ATF seems to believe the present definitions are restrictively narrow and are attempting to cover more components. The main argument for regulating unserialized parts is the inability to track. Anyone with a router and jig can machine a personal use AR-15 lower receiver from an 80% lower. This could possibly include someone who would ordinarily fail a background check when purchasing a firearm from a licensed gun dealer. The ATF cites crime statistics, claiming the proliferation of 80% lo