gun violence

Weapon Eyed in NYC Honor Student Slaying Could Get Tougher Rules

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In the wake of a shooting that took the life of a 16-year-old honor student in the Bronx, top lawmakers are looking at strengthening rules of so-called ghost guns which could include the implementation of background checks.

Detectives investigating Friday's shooting of three teens that killed Angellyh Yambo suspect the 17-year-old gunman, since charged with murder, used a ghost gun — homemade firearms that can be built with parts bought online and lack serial numbers normally used to trace them.

The Biden administration will come out with its long-awaited ghost gun rule — aimed at reining in privately made firearms without serial numbers that are increasingly cropping up at crime scenes — as soon as Monday, three people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

On Sunday, the Senate's top Democrat, Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, implored the administration to move faster.

“It’s high time for a ghost gun exorcism before the proliferation peaks, and before more people get hurt — or worse,” Schumer said in a statement. “My message is a simple one: No more waiting on these proposed federal rules." Ghost guns are "too easy to build, too hard to trace and too dangerous to ignore.”

The New York lawmaker cited NYPD data at a press conference, showing ghost gun recoveries are up more than 350%. Schumer wants the federal government to push rules that treats such guns and their kits "like any other weapon each part with a serial number and requiring a background check."

The long-awaited rule is expected to change the current definition of a firearm under federal law to include unfinished parts, like the frame of a handgun or the receiver of a long gun.

In its proposed rule released last May, the ATF said it was also seeking to require manufacturers and dealers who sell ghost gun parts to be licensed by the federal government and require federally licensed firearms dealers to add a serial number to any unserialized guns they plan to sell.

The rule would also require firearms dealers to run background checks before they sell ghost gun kits that contain parts needed to assemble a firearm.

Police across the country have been reporting spikes in ghost guns being recovered by officers. The New York Police Department, for example, said officers found 131 unserialized firearms since January.

Three high school students heading home were shot in the Bronx, one died from a gunshot wound to her chest, police said. NBC New York's Adam Harding reports.
Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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