On April 8, President Biden announced a series of measures he planned to take, independent of Congress, to limit gun violence in the US. Among those measures is a directive empowering the Justice Department to stop the spread of “ghost guns”—homemade firearms, assembled from kits, that lack serial numbers and are thus untraceable. “I want to see these kits treated as firearms under the Gun Control Act,” the president said.
As reporter Annie Karni wrote in a New York Times explainer: “There is no need to pass a background check to obtain the components of a ghost gun. They are sold online as D.I.Y. kits, and typically shipped as ‘80 percent receivers.’ That means the gun is 80 percent complete, and buyers have to assemble the final 20 percent themselves.”
Ghost guns vs. traceable guns: Illustration via Everytown for Gun Safety, an American nonprofit organization, created in 2013, that advocates for gun control and against gun violence. Everytown is financed largely by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.