Gov. Wolf Commends Biden Administration Rule Banning Sale of “Buy, Build, Shoot” Ghost Guns without Background Check

April 11, 2022

Governor Tom Wolf commended the Biden Administration’s effort to crack down on America’s gun violence epidemic by banning the manufacturing and sale of ghost gun kits without a federal license and background check requirement at the point of sale.

“It’s long past time for gun violence reduction to be prioritized at the federal level—I’m grateful that President Biden shares my concern for this issue and is working to protect our nation from further from unnecessary loss,” said Gov. Wolf. “There is absolutely no reason for unserialized guns to be in our communities, carried by unvetted individuals. This final rule on ghost guns today is just common sense.”

Today, the Biden Administration announced a final rule, issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, in an effort to address the increasing number of incidents involving unserialized ghost guns. Ghost guns are privately made firearms that often originate from a kit. Purchasers do not currently need to pass a background check to obtain a gun-making kit. The final rule bans the business of making “buy, build, shoot” kits. Moving forward, manufacturers of such kits must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to sales, just as is required for commercially made firearms.

The final rule also works to convert ghost guns already in circulation into serialized firearms by requiring licensed dealers and gunsmiths that take in an unserialized firearm to inventory and serialize the weapon. The requirement will apply regardless of how the firearm was made such as from individual parts, kits, or those that are 3D-printed.

The Pennsylvania State Police has been anticipating the implementation of this rule, and plans to mirror this federal regulation at the state level.

Gov. Wolf has worked throughout his administration to combat gun violence in Pennsylvania and even to specifically address incidents involving ghost guns. In 2019, Gov. Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro worked together to implement a strategy to treat 80% receivers—the external housing of a firearm which are commonly used to make unserialized ghost guns—as classified firearms in Pennsylvania that require a serial number and background check to purchase.

Additional efforts:

  • In 2019, he signed an executive order making sweeping changes to gun violence in Pennsylvania including the creation of a Special Council on Gun Violence;
  • He has invested a total of $56 million in Gun Violence & Prevention programming;
  • In December 2021, he vetoed Senate Bill 565, dangerous legislation that would have removed licensing and background check requirements for concealed carry permits and overturned Philadelphia’s requirement for a permit to open carry.
  • In February 2022, he vetoed House Bill 979, which would have discouraged local jurisdictions from attempting to regulate firearms and also provided an opportunity to individuals to challenge local ordinances and sue a county, municipality, or township that violated the prohibition on stricter firearms laws.

“I hope this step at the federal level combined with the tragic headlines we see too frequently across Pennsylvania are a wake-up call for Pennsylvania’s Republican-led General Assembly to finally make an effort to write and pass commonsense, lifesaving gun laws here in the commonwealth,” added Gov. Wolf.

Gov. Wolf continues to call for the legislature to pass bills that:

  • Require reporting for lost and stolen guns
  • Close loopholes and require background checks on all gun sales
  • Require safe storage of firearms to protect children
  • Create red flag laws to protect those who may be a danger to themselves or others
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