From Mirror staff reports
Pennsylvania is cracking down on ghost guns, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday.
The Pennsylvania State Police began officially tracking the seizure of and recovery of ghost guns from crime scenes in 2021. Philadelphia began tracking these same numbers in 2019. Philadelphia recorded 95 seizures and recoveries in 2019, 250 in 2020 and 571 in 2021. State police recorded 24 seizures and recoveries in 2021.
Wolf and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick, announced that, following the Biden administration’s new final rule on ghost guns, Pennsylvania stands ready to implement the same regulation at the state level.
Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Justice issued a final rule to rein in the proliferation of “ghost guns” — unserialized, privately made firearms that law enforcement are increasingly recovering at crime scenes in cities across the country.
According to Justice Department statistics, about 20,000 suspected ghost guns were reported last year to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as having been recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations. Because ghost guns lack serial numbers, it is difficult for law enforcement to trace those guns back to an individual purchaser.
The new regulation requires those purchasing partially manufactured frames and receivers undergo a background check at the point of sale. The rule also requires dealers and gunsmiths to serialize and inventory any unregistered firearms that come into their business.
The new federal rule also bans the business of manufacturing the most accessible ghost guns, such as unserialized “buy build shoot” kits that individuals can buy online or at a store without a background check and can readily assemble into a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes with equipment they have at home. This rule clarifies that these kits qualify as “firearms” under the Gun Control Act, and that commercial manufacturers of such kits must therefore become licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, and commercial sellers of these kits must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to a sale — just like they have to do with other commercially-made firearms.
The final rule will also help turn some ghost guns already in circulation into serialized firearms. Through this rule, the Justice Department is requiring federally licensed dealers and gunsmiths taking any unserialized firearm into inventory to serialize that weapon.