With new federal regulations taking effect on so-called “ghost guns” next week, businesses that sell untraceable firearms are racing to offload their inventory.
The new regulations from the Biden administration will go into effect on August 24 and will essentially limit the proliferation of ghost guns by requiring those selling them to follow the same rules and regulations as those selling traditional firearms. system in the US
The weapons are assembled from kits and do not carry serial numbers. Authorities say they attract criminals and extremists. Their parts can be purchased online or in stores as do-it-yourself kits, and their purchase requires no background checks. They can be assembled into active firearms within 30 minutes.
A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the new rule would “play an important role in preventing convicts, domestic abusers and those banned from doing so.” other get these weapons.” It will also allow the office to “trace these guns when used in crimes.”
Under the new rules, ghost gun manufacturers and dealers must be federally licensed, parts used to make weapons will need to have a serial number, and buyers will have to go through a legal vetting process. calendar.
With the days until the regulation goes into effect, ghost gun dealers are ramping up efforts to offload inventory. Online bookie GhostGuns.com has a countdown banner directly on the homepage reminding shoppers of the date the restrictions go into effect. The company saw a surge in sales for its ghost gun kits when the rule was first announced in early April, and it sold out, a representative told CNBC. The representative said the countdown was meant to “raise awareness and sales”.
The website 80percentarms.com, which sells some guns that are 80% assembled, promises to continue shipping ghost guns until the regulation date begins.
A similar online dealer, 80-lower.com, is advertising “fast delivery” on products “shipped in a discreet box” and a statement on their website says the company is “ready to go” ready to fight this last rule” and it is working with the legal team and other organizations to “block this rule from taking effect”. The National Rifle Association, the country’s largest gun advocacy group, criticized the ghost gun rule.
Representatives from 80percentarms.com and 80-lower.com did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Ghost guns have grown in popularity in recent years. Based on The White HouseThe number of ghost guns reported to the ATF has increased tenfold since 2016. Last year alone, there were about 20,000 suspected ghost gun recalls reported to the ATF, the White House added.
Ten states and the District of Columbia have either begun to regulate or outright ban the sale of ghost guns.
In Washington, DC, the polymer80 ghost gun manufacturer and distributor was successfully sued by the district attorney general, Karl Racine.
Polymer80 was found to have violated city consumer protection laws by falsely claiming that ghost gun kits were legal to buy in DC. The company sold them to dozens of customers in the city, including through its website. Polymer80 was ordered to pay more than $4 million in fines to the city.
“These weapons are unlicensed, undetectable and untraceable, and subject to the same regulations as other firearms,” Racine said in a statement to CNBC.
He also said he supports the new federal regulations.
“As the country and the District confront a pandemic of gun violence, we must support federal efforts to stem the flow of ghost guns, which can easily be trafficked through,” Racine said. state borders”. “Following this rule is vital in ensuring that our residents are safe.”
Polymer80 did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the upcoming lawsuit or rule change.
Although the new regulation will govern future sales of ghost guns, there are no known estimates of the number of ghost guns already in circulation.