Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel joins AG coalition pushing for regulations on ‘ghost guns’

By: - July 13, 2022 11:39 am

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Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday she would join 20 other attorney generals in supporting a new federal rule regulating “ghost guns.”

Ghost guns are unserialized weapons, often put together from weapon parts kits or partially complete frames and receivers, which can be purchased without background checks.

Attorney General Dana Nessel | Susan J. Demas

The coalition filed an amicus brief in support of the rule, which would ensure buyers pass background checks before purchasing these kits, so law enforcement can trace self-made guns that are used in crimes. The rule also limits gun traffickers’ abilities to distribute weapons in Michigan. 

According to a statement from the Michigan Department of the Attorney General, there has been an exponential rise in the number of ghost guns recovered by law enforcement in Michigan and other states, including states that attempted to regulate ghost guns. 

The Final Rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) helps curb this problem, serving as a vital backstop to existing state efforts to stem the flow of ghost guns, according to Nessel’s statement.

The rule regulates ghost guns by defining the kits and partially complete frames and receivers as firearms under the Gun Control Act if they can be readily converted to function as a firearm. 

According to the statement, this closes a loophole allowing people to evade gun laws by ensuring that kits or partially complete frames and receivers are subject to serialization and background checks, like other conventionally made guns. 

“On average, more than 1,200 Michigan residents die each year from gun violence,” Nessel said. “Ghost guns continue to proliferate [on] our streets and I have been asking ATF to close the dangerous loophole that keeps these weapons from being subject to the same regulations as other firearms. So I gladly stand with my colleagues in supporting this new common-sense rule.”

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and the attorneys general of New Jersey and Pennsylvania led the brief, and also were joined by those from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.

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Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson

Kyle Davidson covers state government alongside health care, business and the environment. A graduate of Michigan State University, Kyle studied journalism and political science. He previously covered community events, breaking news, state policy and the environment for outlets including the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Capital News Service.