Department of Justice Announces Filing of Expression of Interest in ‘Ghost Gun’ Litigation | USAO-EDNY
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY), in partnership with Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), and Brian M. Boynton, Deputy Attorney Senior Deputy General, filed an Expression of Interest today in New York City v. Arm or Ally, LLCto express the Department of Justice’s views on Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regulations regarding unfinished chassis and receiver kits.
In the lawsuit, New York City alleges that several gun companies sold tens of thousands of illegal, unfinished frames and receivers to New Yorkers. These frames and receivers, which are classified as firearms, were later converted to unnumbered and untraceable handguns and assault-type weapons known as “ghost guns”. Ghost guns contribute to the ongoing scourge of gun violence.
The Justice Department’s Statement of Interest informs the Court that the United States is seriously concerned about the proliferation of unobtainable firearms easily assembled from kits of firearm parts and unused frames and bolts. finished. The Expression of Interest makes it clear that the ATF has long maintained that the sale of all components necessary to produce a working firearm is, and always has been, classified as the sale of a firearm in under the Gun Control Act 1968. The interest informs the Court of the ATF’s jurisdiction to promulgate a rule updating its definition of “executive or receiver” and other statutory and regulatory terms.
Mr Peace said: “Ghost weapons are a major contributor to the ongoing scourge of gun violence. The United States will continue to employ all available means, including civilian tools, to keep ghost guns and other illegal firearms out of the hands of criminals and reduce the risk of gun violence. The United States has filed a Statement of Interest in this important litigation to ensure that the Court is informed of the federal government’s views on relevant firearms laws and regulations.
Mr. Williams said, “This Expression of Interest reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to working with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to combat the growing problem of phantom weapons. This bureau is committed to preventing criminals from gaining access to unobtainable firearms easily assembled from gun parts kits and unfinished frames and receivers.
“Ghost guns have for years helped fuel a growing trend of gun violence,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge DeVito. “The updated federal regulations are an important step in combating this trend in our local communities. Today’s brief sends a message that the United States will do its part, using every means available, to support our local partners in their own efforts to stem the flow of these dangerous weapons to criminal elements and violent offenders.
For the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the filing of this Expression of Interest is part of EDNY’s broader civilian initiative to reduce gun violence. EDNY’s Civilian Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence was created earlier this year in recognition of the President’s directive to take a whole-of-government approach to addressing the gun violence epidemic and ensuring public safety, and comprehensive the successful efforts of the EDNY Criminal Division to reduce the scourge of gun crime. EDNY’s Civilian Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence aims to work with federal, state and local authorities, as well as community stakeholders, to address the root causes of gun crime and supports reform efforts across government. In July 2021, the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York also joined an interjurisdictional strike force to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal gun trafficking in key regions of the country.
This case, along with EDNY’s Civil Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence, is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Blume, Richard Hayes, Joseph Marutollo, and Bonni Perlin of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance from the paralegal specialist Jill Merenda. This case was handled in partnership with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeannette Vargas and Lucas Issacharoff of the Southern District of New York; Director Alexander K. Haas, Deputy Director Lesley Farby, Attorneys Daniel Riess and Martin M. Tomlinson of the Federal Programs Branch; and Director Gustav W. Eyler, Senior Deputy Director Amanda Liskamm, and Attorneys Patrick Runkle and Daniel Crane-Hirsch of the Consumer Protection Branch.