The weapons, which are assembled at home and lack tracking numbers, are increasingly being recovered at crime scenes.
US President Joe Biden will announce a new Department of Justice (DoJ) rule aimed at cracking down on so-called “ghost guns“.
The weapons, which can be purchased as home-assemble kits and lack federal-tracking serial numbers, have been increasingly recovered at crime scenes across the US in recent years, according to the White House.
In 2021, law enforcement agencies reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that 20,000 suspected bogus weapons were recovered. The figure represented a tenfold increase from 2016.
“These are the weapon of choice for criminals,” a Biden administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters at a preview of the ad.
The new Justice Department rule says manufacturers of some types of “ghost gun” kits, known as “buy, build, shoot” kits, will be subject to the same restrictions as firearms manufacturers under the Arms Control Law. That would require kit makers to obtain federal licenses and include serial numbers on key components of the weapon.
The rule would also require federally licensed dealers and gunsmiths who receive guns without serial numbers to “serialize” the gun with federal authorities before selling it to a customer.
It also seeks to close loopholes to ensure that all firearms are subject to federal registration, even those where key firing components are sold in multiple parts.
Meanwhile, the rule requires firearms dealers to keep key documents until they close. Previously they had been allowed to destroy most records after 20 years.
Biden had asked the Justice Department to issue rules related to ghost weapons in April 2021 after a series of mass shootingsthat have become common in the US in recent decades.
He has called on Congress to pass sweeping federal gun control measures, but has faced an uphill battle on the politically tense issue.
The White House also announced Monday that Biden would name former federal prosecutor Steve Dettelbach as ATF director.