CBS Philly: Justice Department Proposal Making It Harder To Buy Parts To Make Ghost Guns Brings Hope To Fighting Philly’s Epidemic

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A possible step in curbing Philadelphia’s gun violence epidemic. The Justice Department is proposing a rule that would make it more difficult to sell what are known as ghost guns.

“There’s no way to identify this. It’s plastic, it’s untraceable,” state Sen. Vincent Hughes said. “We’ve got to shut this down. We’ve got to shut this down.”

The Justice Department’s proposed rule would broaden the definition of a firearm, requiring some gun-making kits to include a serial number.

“Obviously, when we’re talking about a privately made firearm, there’s no serial number on that,” Philadelphia Police Department Forensic Science Director Mike Garvey said. “So, the tracing stream is cut off.”

The current loophole in federal firearms law allows people who are prohibited from owning a gun to obtain them by simply making it themselves.

Local law enforcement officials say ghost guns have been turning up at crime scenes and are increasingly being purchased by gang members in the city.

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“In two-and-a-half months in Pennsylvania, they’ve sold 6,000 of these,” Hughes said.

Under the new rule, retailers would be required to run background checks before selling kits that contain parts to make a homemade gun.

“In order to make this community build back better, it’s going to take all of our efforts to get it,” Evans said. “So at the federal level, universal background check, the Charleston loophole, the president taking the leadership, the ATF. We have to try every sort of method we have, every relationship we have.”

“We have the use the religious community, the civic community, the business community because this is affecting the entire city, the state, and the nation,” Evans added. “And the fact that the president of the United States stated very clearly that this gun violence is an epidemic. I have never seen a president do that from the Rose Garden. So, understand that he has raised the issues and it affects us all.”

The largest gun show promoter in Pennsylvania is no longer selling 80% receiver kits.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro says this is the first time across the nation that they’re aware of a gun show operator teaming up with law enforcement.