Senator Anna Kaplan and Assemblymember Charles Lavine Introduce New Gun Safety Legislation To Keep Untraceable Firearms Out of NY Communities

NEW HYDE PARK, NY (September 19, 2019) – Today Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-Great Neck) and Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine (D-Glen Cove) announced new gun safety legislation to keep untraceable "ghost guns" out of New York communities. The bill (S6716) would prohibit the possession of so-called unfinished frames, unfinished receivers, and 80% receivers, which can be readily made into a functional frame or receiver through milling, drilling, or other means.

"I'm proud that New York is a nationwide leader in the fight for common-sense gun safety legislation, and today we are taking further action to protect our communities from the epidemic of gun violence," said bill sponsor Senator Anna M. Kaplan. "These unfinished receivers are a real threat to public safety, because they allow anyone to get their hands on dangerous, unregistered, and untraceable weapons with no serial number, and no background check. This loophole gives people an end-run around our existing gun safety laws and it's unfortunately being exploited by people who would otherwise fail a background check."

"If you want to own a gun in New York, you need to go through a background check, and that gun needs to have a serial number. Period," said bill sponsor Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine. "I'm proud to say that with this new bill, no longer will someone be able to get around these simple rules with a do-it-yourself gun kit they bought online."

Under the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, it is illegal for an unlicensed person to make a firearm for sale or distribution. However, it has been interpreted that since these receivers are "unfinished," lacking holes necessary to attach a trigger mechanism and lacking necessary grooves to create a fire control cavity, they are not classified as firearms under the GCA.

Drilling and milling of these unfinished receivers can be done at home by anyone using simple tools, allowing someone to circumvent the background check process, and ultimately obtain an untraceable, unregistered firearm.

“We’re thrilled to see this legislation introduced today and applaud Sen. Kaplan for her leadership in gun violence prevention,” said Tracy Bacher, Nassau resident and volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “This bill makes new strides in keeping New York communities safe by prohibiting people from assembling their own guns with untraceable, unserialized parts. We’ll push for this bill to advance until it becomes law.”

Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said, “Our public’s safety remains at risk if people, including those with criminal records, are able to buy unfinished receivers and build untraceable guns on their own," Fischer said. “We applaud Senator Kaplan for introducing this bill and showing once again that New York is a model of leadership for the rest of the country on gun safety."

Ellie Musmeci of Long Islanders for Gun Safety said “Banning the sale and possession of unfinished receivers is vital to public safety. These weapons are untraceable by law enforcement and in some cases undetectable by a metal detector. We have had enough of unregulated weapons used to maim and kill innocent Americans. We thank Senator Kaplan for introducing this bill.”