Legislation to crack down on unregistered and untraceable “ghost guns” sponsored by U.S. Rep. Max Rose has passed the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Rose’s legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis to develop and disseminate an annual terrorism threat assessment regarding the availability of ghost guns with state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials.
“These weapons pose a security risk on the front end, as prohibited buyers can purchase ghost guns with just a few clicks online,” said Rose, an Army combat veteran and member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
“They also pose a security risk on the back end, complicating law enforcement’s ability to investigate attacks,” Rose said. “People on terror watch lists can purchase these guns, use them to commit crimes, and evade law enforcement. As the committee charged with helping to prevent terrorism, it falls to us to take this emerging terrorism threat very seriously.”
Rose’s legislation, “The Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists’ Use of Ghost Guns Act,” has garnered the support of the New York Police Department and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“Information is one of the NYPD’s most valuable tools in protecting this city against acts of terrorism,” said John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner intelligence & counterterrorism. “This legislation represents a first step in assessing the threat level and potential devastating impact of untraceable firearms, commonly known as ‘Ghost Guns.’”
According to Rose, because they are sold and assembled without a serial number, ghost guns are unregistered, untraceable weapons that present a homeland security challenge, evading existing federal restrictions on the sale and purchase of firearms, leaving the door open for terrorists and other criminals to get their hands on them and eluding detection when law enforcement officials attempt to trace the weapon.
On May 7, Rose spearheaded a student roundtable on gun violence at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge. He spent the morning addressing students’ concerns about gun safety measures that could be implemented in schools. Later that same day there was yet another school shooting at Highlands Ranch High School in Colorado, just seven miles from Columbine where two 12th grade students murdered 12 students and one teacher in 1999.
Rose also supports legislation to ban the sale, manufacture or possession of new, military-style weapons to civilians. Earlier this year, Rose voted to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would require background checks during private sales, including gun shows, so that the vast majority of sales are run through the national criminal background check system.
“Ghost guns pose a very serious and growing threat to our public safety,” Rose told this paper. “Local and federal law enforcement have continued to raise the alarm over the ability of terrorists and criminals to purchase and make unregistered, untraceable weapons. We’re seeing action on both the city and state level to crack down on ghost guns, and my bill would make sure the federal government is backing that up with critical information to help our law enforcement on the front lines.”