The US proposal would act against anonymous “ghost guns”.

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© Reuters. A participant in an armed rally displays a gun with a 3D printed bottom receiver, a gun known as

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By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Department of Justice released a proposed rule on Friday aimed at cracking down on self-organized “ghost guns”. That move was promised by the White House last month as part of a major effort to contain mass shootings and bloodshed in the community.

The Justice Department issued a proposal for a regulation requiring retailers to conduct background checks before selling kits that contain the parts necessary for someone at home to willingly make a gun. It will take effect later this year unless stopped by a judicial challenge.

The proposed rule would also require the inclusion of serial numbers in parts used in easy-to-build firearms kits, making it easier for law enforcement to track guns used in violent crimes.

The rule marks the first time since 1968 that the definition of “firearm” in the US Code has been updated, the Justice Department said in a press release.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that the proposed rule would “help keep guns out of the wrong hands and make it easier for law enforcement to track down guns used to commit violent crimes”.

Gun control advocates have long said that ghost weapons allow someone to obtain a firearm without going through the background checks they would otherwise face.

On April 8, President Joe Biden called on the Justice Department to propose a new rule on ghost rifles within 30 days.

“The parts have no serial numbers. So if they turn up at a crime scene, they cannot be traced,” said Biden on April 28 in his first address to Congress. “Ghost Gun Kit buyers don’t have to pass a background check. Anyone from criminals to terrorists can buy this kit and assemble a deadly weapon in just 30 minutes. But nothing more.”

The rule proposed by the Justice Department will be recorded in a federal journal on Friday, which opens a review period for public comments, which can be two months.

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