U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Joe Biden has rekindled his war on American gun owners, selecting so-called “ghost guns” as the new administration bogeyman and setting new rules to expand the definition of a firearm to include kits used by home gunsmiths, and he’s also announced a new nominee to head the agency he hopes will enforce the rules.
Biden is nominating Steve Dettelbach as the new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and immediately the gun prohibition lobby threw its support behind the choice.
The White House issued a statement Monday detailing the plan:
“Today’s final rule includes two additional actions to make our communities safer.
“First, the final rule ensures that firearms with split receivers are subject to regulations requiring serial numbers and background checks when purchased from a licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer. Decades ago, ATF issued a regulation defining the ‘frame or receiver’ of a firearm as the part that is regulated by the Gun Control Act – meaning that is the part that triggers federal serialization, background check, and other requirements. At that time, many firearms in the United States were single-framed firearms, like revolvers, that house key components in a single structure. However, we have seen the increasing popularity of firearms using split or multi-part receivers that house key components in multiple structures. Some courts have recently interpreted decades-old regulatory text in a way that, if broadly applied, could mean that as many as 90 percent of firearms in the United States today would not have a frame or receiver subject to federal regulation. The final rule updates the regulatory definitions of ‘frame’ and ‘receiver’ to ensure that firearms using split or multi-part receivers continue to be covered by our common-sense gun laws.
“Second, the final rule requires federally licensed firearms dealers to retain key records until they shut down their business or licensed activity. At that time, these dealers must transfer the records to ATF, just as they are currently required to do at the end of licensed activity. Previously, these dealers were permitted to destroy most records after 20 years, making it harder for law enforcement to trace firearms found at crime scenes. According to ATF’s National Tracing Center, on average more than 1,300 firearms a year are untraceable because the federally licensed firearms dealer destroyed the relevant records that were more than 20 years old.”
Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) says the plan is unconstitutional.
“The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to prevent you from making your own firearm,” Massie said in a Twitter message. “This a fact that has been recognized for 200+ years. Also, Article 1, Section 1 (literally the first operative sentence in the Constitution) says Congress makes law, not POTUS!”
Gun rights organizations are clearly opposed to Biden’s new scheme and his BATF nomination
“Once again, Joe Biden is focusing on a bogeyman instead of bad guys by attacking the American tradition of home gunsmithing,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
“The fact that Steve Dettelbach, his new nominee to head BATF, immediately got full support from the gun prohibition lobby should be enough to make every American gun owner leery.”
Gottlieb also is the executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, which focuses solely on education and litigation, and he added this: “We do not believe that the Biden Administration has the legal authority to redefine what a gun is. Only Congress has that authority. This is a blatant attempt to usurp the constitution. Our attorneys are exploring a lawsuit.”
Gun Owners of America quickly tweeted Massie is “spot on – Biden’s proposal to create a comprehensive national gun registry and end the online sale of gun parts without the passage of a new law exemplifies his disregard for the Second Amendment.”
National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam issued a statement forward to AmmoLand News:
“An administration that’s truly sincere and resolute about curbing violent crime rates would do one thing: take violent criminals off the streets immediately. Yet, the Biden administration allows these criminals who kill and maim with callous and reckless abandon, again and again, to roam the streets of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and other cities large and small across our country without fear of prosecution and punishment.
“Americans know the lenient bail system and the revolving door justice system supported and perpetrated by the Biden administration and other leaders who support soft-on-criminal policies are the problem.
“However, today, the president unveils yet another hollow plan that will not stop this violence. His gun control actions will undoubtedly hearten his wealthy gun control supporters. But, this action sends the wrong message to violent criminals, because this ‘ban’ will not affect them. These violent crime sprees will continue unabated until they are arrested, prosecuted and punished.”
The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to prevent you from making your own firearm. This a fact that has been recognized for 200+ years. Also, Article 1, Section 1 (literally the first operative sentence in the Constitution) says Congress makes law, not POTUS! pic.twitter.com/vTFRvKYTVi
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 11, 2022
According to Fox News, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) declared, “It’s high time for a ghost gun exorcism before the proliferation peaks and before more people get hurt — or worse… My message is a simple one: No more waiting on these proposed federal rules.”
The perennial anti-gunner said such firearms are “too easy to build, too hard to trace and too dangerous to ignore.”
But rather than constituting a major problem, according to CBS News, so-called “ghost guns” account for about 12 percent of all guns seized by the New York Police Department this year. Perhaps unintentionally demonstrating how the data might be sensationalized, CBS News quoted NYPD Intelligence Chief Tom Galati, who said last month, “In New York City in 2019, we recovered 47 ghost guns. In 2020, we recovered 150 ghost guns. In 2021, that number jumped up to 375. And so far in 2022, we have 85 compared to 20 last year. That’s a 325% increase of seizures of ghost guns since last year.”
The CBS story acknowledged, “ghost guns are used in only a fraction of gun crimes. About 12% of guns seized by the NYPD so far this year were ghost guns, according to the New York Post, although data is limited because of how difficult it is to trace them.”
Over at Fox, commentator David Webb criticized Biden for not cracking down on criminals.
“There’s no point where he does that,” Webb said during an early-morning appearance on Fox & Friends First. “Ghost guns are not the issue.”
Fox reported that crime is up 44.1 percent in New York, 36 percent in Chicago and 7 percent in Los Angeles. The common denominator in all three cities is Democrat control.
The Dettelbach nomination is likely to be a hot button item in the days and weeks ahead. He is already on record, while running for attorney general in Ohio, for renewing the ban on so-called “assault weapons” and requiring background checks on firearms purchases.
As quoted by ABC News, John Feinblatt, president of the billionaire-backed Everytown for Gun Safety said, “We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for doubling down on its commitment to gun safety by taking action to rein in ghost guns and nominating an ATF Director who will end its culture of complicity with the gun industry. Steve Dettelbach will be the strong leader the ATF needs to lead a top-to-bottom overhaul of the agency, and we urge the Senate to swiftly confirm him.”
Anti-Second Amendment groups said essentially the same thing about Biden’s first nominee, David Chipman, who was withdrawn last summer when it became obvious he would not be confirmed.
According to The Hill, “Dettelbach previously served as counsel in the Senate Judiciary Committee under former Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and was the Democratic nominee for Ohio attorney general in 2018.”
Biden needs someone heading BATF who will carry out his agenda. This nomination is likely to get plenty of opposition on Capitol Hill and from gun owners nationwide.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.