DOJ Joins Coalition of 20 States Backing Important New Federal Rule to Regulate Ghost Guns and Make Communities Safer

Jul 12 2022

Amicus Brief Continues Efforts to Support Commonsense Gun Regulations and Improve Public Safety


MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined a group of 20 states in filing an amicus brief supporting an important new federal rule regulating “ghost guns”: unserialized weapons that are often made at home from weapon parts kits or partially complete frames and receivers and can be purchased without background checks. 


The rule would help ensure that buyers pass background checks before purchasing such kits and that law enforcement officers can trace any self-made guns that are later used in a crime. It would also limit gun traffickers’ ability to distribute these dangerous weapons.


“Treating ghost guns the same as other firearms will help make communities safer,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “This common-sense step to help fight gun violence should be upheld.”


The ATF’s Final Rule regulates ghost guns by clarifying critical definitions in the Gun Control Act. Specifically, the Final Rule makes it clear that weapon parts kits and partially complete frames or receivers—the key building blocks for ghost guns—are “firearms” under the Act if they can be readily converted to function as such. In making this sensible clarification, the Final Rule helps ensure that these kits and partially complete frames or receivers are subject to the same serialization and background check requirements as conventionally manufactured guns. This helps close a dangerous loophole in firearms regulation that enabled people to evade existing gun laws and get their hands on these dangerous weapons.


A copy of the brief is available here.


In filing the briefing, Attorney General Josh Kaul joins the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington.