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Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Denounce Extreme Court Decision Reversing ATF’s Ghost Gun Rule


NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action released the following statements after an extreme ruling from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas reversed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ghost guns rule.

The rule, which was finalized in April last year and took effect last August, requires ghost guns to be treated like the deadly weapons they are. The ATF’s rule updated the definitions of “firearm” and “frame or receiver” to include kits and components that are easily assembled into untraceable ghost guns.

“Ghost guns look like a gun, shoot like a gun, and kill like a gun, so it stands to reason that they should also be regulated like conventional guns,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This extreme ruling on ghost guns is a dream come true for criminals, and a nightmare for law enforcement.”

“Once again, we see a judge issue a dangerous ruling that sides with the gun lobby’s agenda over public safety,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action. “This decision will no doubt put lives at risk, but our grassroots army will not be deterred. Already, over a dozen states have taken action to regulate ghost guns and our volunteers are ready to keep fighting around the country to pass common-sense laws that will prevent these dangerous and untraceable firearms from putting our communities at risk.” 

ATF estimates that nearly 24,000 ghost guns have been recovered at crime scenes since 2016, and local law enforcement agencies are seeing staggering increases in rates of recovery — rising as much as 100 percent in the last three years in places like San Diego and Los Angeles. Other communities have seen significant ghost gun recoveries, with sharp increases in the past year. In 2022, the ATF recovered 25,785 ghost guns in domestic seizures, as well as 2,453 through international operations. So far in 2023, the Department has recovered more than 10,000 PMFs domestically and 1,000 internationally. According to the LAPD, the department recovered 1,921 ghost guns in 2021, more than double the 813 ghost guns recovered in 2020. In Philadelphia, the police reported recovering 571 ghost guns, compared to 95 in 2019 and 250 in 2020. Ghost guns have also been weapons of choice for militant right-wing extremists and people who otherwise would not be able to pass a background check. In recent months, the country has also seen an increase of gun fire on school grounds with ghost guns and recoveries of ghost guns on campuses. Schools in Arizona, New Mexico, Maryland, and Kansas have been devastated with these instances of gun fire on school grounds – highlighting a scary trend and another important reason to regulate these guns. 

Everytown has compiled examples of ghost gun shootings from across the country since 2013, available here. Everytown’s report on ghost guns, featuring testimonials from law enforcement officers, can be found here.