Congressional representatives including Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, reintroduced a bill last week that would require sellers of ghost gun kits to comply with federal regulations around gun safety.
The Ghost Guns and Untraceable Firearms Act bans ghost guns, which can be assembled at home from parts that have no serial number and whose use appears to be proliferating across the United States.
Ghost guns recovered and traced by law enforcement rose more than 1,000 percent between 2016 and 2021 from 1,629 to 19,273, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"Untraceable ghost guns are the fastest growing gun violence threat in our country, and they pose a significant risk to our communities and law enforcement," Thompson said in a statement. "The Ghost Guns and Untraceable Firearms Act will help us crack down on the proliferation of ghost guns and keep these untraceable guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals."
Joining Thompson as co-leads on the bill are other Democrats including Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Reps. Adriano Espaillat of New York, Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania and Brad Schneider of Illinois.
Buyers can obtain a ghost gun without passing a background check, and because ghost guns have no serial number, law enforcement has difficulty tracing them. That can impede investigations.
Among other provisions of the bill, unfinished frames and receivers, which make up the core of a ghost gun, would be added to the definition of firearm in federal law.
Sellers, manufacturers and distributors of ghost gun kits who sell frames and receivers that can be "readily" converted into functional weapons would have to comply with the same federal regulations as those that produce and distribute completed guns, according to Thompson's office.
The bill also requires that sellers of ghost guns have a manufacturer's license, that they put a serial number on the frame or receiver in each kit and that buyers undergo a background check.