WMH Files Amicus Brief by 11 U.S. Cities in Support of Efforts to Require the ATF to Regulate “Ghost Guns”

Walden Macht & Haran LLP

On December 16, 2020, WMH and its co-counsel at represented three cities – Dayton, OH, Durham, NC,  and Hartford, CT – in the submission to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York of an amicus brief in support of efforts to require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (“ATF”) to regulate so-called “ghost guns” under federal gun control laws.  The amicus brief, which was joined by eight additional cities, represented by separate counsel, illustrates the increasing prevalence of ghost guns in these and other American cities, the unique challenges ghost guns present to efforts to prevent gun crime and protect public safety in these cities, and the urgent need to regulate ghost guns under federal law.

Ghost guns are fully operative firearms that can be quickly and easily constructed from unfinished frames and receivers, which are often sold on the internet in kits that allow for ready assembly. Because ATF has not regulated these unfinished frames and receivers, or the kits including them, under federal law, they are sold without background checks, including to convicted felons and others who cannot legally purchase firearms through federally regulated channels. Furthermore, the ghost guns assembled from these unregulated frames, receivers and kits lack serial numbers, used for tracing, which frustrates the ability of law enforcement to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes committed with ghost guns.

The lawsuit was filed by Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, and several U.S. cities, who claim that ATF’s refusal to regulate ghost guns under federal law misinterprets the Gun Control Act and was arbitrary and capricious.

The Court granted WMH’s motion for leave to file the brief on December 17, 2020.

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