Calling his new legislation a no-brainer, Councilman I. Daneek Miller and Manhattan Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal introduced measures banning the possession of unfinished lower gun frames or receivers, which are then used to create untraceable firearms or so-called “ghost guns.”
Do-it-yourself ghost guns and 3-D printed guns are especially popular among people who are not able to purchase guns legally because they have no serial numbers, which makes them virtually untraceable by law enforcement and allows criminals to bypass background checks and licensing laws.
Ghost guns can also be customized because they are assembled from unfinished parts which are bought online. Miller’s bill would require the NYPD to track and document incidents involving these weapons. Only two states currently regulate ghost guns and while similar measures are pending in Albany and Congress, but the two council members are working with a sense of urgency in New York City.
“New York is a national leader in gun-violence prevention, and the City Council has historically been at the forefront of its efforts to stem the use of deadly firearms,” Miller said. “No one should possess do-it-yourself capability to make or assemble unregulated, unregistered and untraceable guns. As Congress and the Legislature debate the issue, we are acting forcefully to give law enforcement the tools necessary to arrest gun buyers and suppliers, confiscate these weapons of war, and accurately assess the availability of ghost guns on our streets before tragedy strikes.”
Rosenthal’s bill will make it illegal to possess or dispose of an unfinished frame or receiver, unfinished frames that represent 80 percent of a completed gun, with the remaining 20 percent easily purchased online or even in a hardware store. Violators would be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000, or imprisonment for one year, or both.
“California and New Jersey are currently the only states that regulate these weapons,” Rosenthal said. “New York City has the opportunity to be at the forefront of this issue and set an important precedent that other cities and states should follow.”
The bills have been endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“It’s encouraging to see out local officials take this step towards keeping our communities safe,” Moms Demand Action New York Chapter Volunteer June Rubin said. “This legislation will help keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and prevent people from building guns that cannot be traced by law enforcement. We hope our state lawmakers will follow suit and pass similar legislation to protect the entire state.”
In March, an investigation of a suspected cocaine ring in southern New Jersey led to the discovery that the ring was selling AR-15 style ghost guns, the parts of which were shipped to a Pennsylvania in an attempt to circumvent New Jersey’s new laws. The AR-15 is the weapon of choice in so many of the mass shootings that have tormented the nation for years.
“Even with some of the country’s strictest gun laws, there are far too many ways for guns to end up on our streets, which is why these bills regarding untraceable guns are critical for the public safety of all New Yorkers,” said Councilman Donovan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “While Washington, D.C., shrugs its shoulders at every tragic shooting, we need to step up and ensure that the NYPD has the legal authority to confiscate these ghost guns and penalize anyone possessing them.”