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Pa. Officials Welcome Action on ‘Ghost Guns’

By Emily Scott © Public News Service
The Tube City Almanac
May 03, 2022
Posted in: State & Region

Pennsylvania stands ready to implement a new Biden administration federal rule on ghost-gun regulations at the state level.

Ghost guns are unserialized firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home, making them untraceable. The Biden regulation will ensure partially manufactured frames and receivers require a background check at the point of sale, along with requiring dealers and gunsmiths in the state to serialize and inventory any unregistered firearms coming into their businesses.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said ghost guns are fueling the gun-violence crisis in the state.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Wolf said. “Ghost guns are being seized and recovered from crime scenes at an alarming rate. Combined, the Pennsylvania State Police and Philadelphia Police have recorded 147 seizures of ghost guns already this year.”

The federal regulation will take effect 120 days from April 26, the date it was published in the Federal Register.

Gun deaths in the United States hit an all-time high in 2020, with more than 45,000 people killed from firearm-related injuries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Michael Muldrow, police commissioner in the central Pennsylvania city of York, said officers have already confiscated 10 ghost guns in the first four months of 2022. He said ghost guns have made it more challenging to solve violent crimes and hold those responsible accountable.

“Gun violence is the number one threat our communities are facing throughout this county, across this state and around this country,” Muldrow said. “And the one thing I hope we can all agree on, no matter (on) what side of the line you may fall, is doing the things that we need to do to stop the flow of illegal guns into our neighborhoods.”

In 2019, Pennsylvania began classifying “80 percent receivers” — mostly-assembled frames often used to make ghost guns — as firearms, requiring a serial number and background check to purchase.

Emily Scott is a reporter and producer in Philadelphia for Public News Service, where this story first appeared. She previously worked at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station and is a 2018 graduate of Temple University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Originally published May 03, 2022.

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