(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Governor Tom Wolf, along with the Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner, on Friday announced that Pennsylvania is ready to implement stricter regulations on ghost guns.
In early April, The Hill reported President Biden announced a ban on unlicensed kits to manufacture ghost guns at home. The new rule includes a ban on “buy build shoot” kits that people can purchase online or at a store without a background check.
The federal regulation will take effect 120 days from April 26, 2022. PSP announced Friday the intention to mirror the new regulations at the state level.
Friday, Gov. Wolf and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick announced that under the new regulation, partially manufactured frames and receivers will require a background check at the point of sale.
It will also require dealers and gunsmiths in the commonwealth to serialize and inventory any unregistered firearms that come into their business.
“The numbers don’t lie: ghost guns are being seized and recovered from crime scenes at an alarming rate,” said Gov. Wolf. “If you want to own a gun, you need to go through checks and balances that are necessary to ensure public safety. Unserialized guns are an untraceable threat to our society, that’s why we’re ready to immediately mirror this new federal regulation at the state level as soon as possible.”
State Police began tracking the seizure of and recovery of ghost guns from crime scenes in 2021. Philadelphia began tracking numbers in 2019.
- 95 seizures and recoveries in 2019
- 250 seizures and recoveries in 2020
- 571 seizures and recoveries in 2021
- 24 seizures and recoveries in 2021
In 2022, PSP and Philadelphia together have recorded 147 seizures and recoveries of ghost guns to date.
“Violent crime involving firearms is one of our top public safety concerns, and the existence of ghost guns can compound this issue,” said Colonel Evanchick. “Ghost guns can make it more difficult to solve violent crimes and hold those responsible accountable.”
In 2019, Gov. Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro worked together to treat 80% receivers—the external housing of a firearm which are commonly used to make unserialized ghost guns—as classified firearms in Pennsylvania that require a serial number and background check to purchase.