Congressman Rose seeks to ensure local law enforcement have critical information on threats posed by unregistered, untraceable weapons — a priority of NYPD
WASHINGTON, DC — May 11, 2019 — Congressman Max Rose, an Army combat veteran and member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, introduced legislation this week to crack down on unregistered and untraceable “ghost guns” by providing local law enforcement with annual updates on the threat posed by the availability of these weapons.
“Our local law enforcement officials have expressed growing concerns to me over the threat of untraceable and unregistered ghost guns as they work to keep us safe every day,” said Rose, chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism. “They need data and information on just how many of these illegal weapons are out there and where they’re coming from in order to properly prepare and address this threat. This is an important first step in giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep our communities safe.”
“Information is one of the NYPD’s most valuable tools in protecting this city against acts of terrorism,” said John J. 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.’”
Rose’s legislation, The Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists’ Use of Ghost Guns Act, 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.
At a Committee on Homeland Security hearing this week, Rose asked senior federal law enforcement officials about the threat of ghost guns. Brian Murphy, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Intelligence & Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, replied, “I would say from the Department’s perspective, we are tracking it, and we have concerns about it.” Michael McGarrity, Assistant Director for Counterterrorism for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, continued that it is, “concerning that you could have a weapon out there that’s not traceable.”
Ghost guns—unregistered, untraceable weapons sold and assembled without a serial number—present a homeland security challenge. These weapons are sold or made in forms that evade existing federal restrictions on the sale and purchase of firearms, leaving the door open for terrorists and other bad actors to get their hands on guns—ranging from small pistols to AR-15s—and elude detection when law enforcement officials attempt to trace the weapon.
Ghost guns not only pose a challenge on the front end, enabling prohibited buyers to purchase deadly weapons with just a few clicks online, but also on the back end, hamstringing law enforcement’s ability to investigate crimes committed with untraceable weapons. The wide availability of ghost guns and the emergence of functional 3D-printed guns are a homeland security threat as terrorists and other bad actors may seek to exploit the availability of these weapons for dangerous ends.
Preventing gun violence has been a top priority of Rose, who held a roundtable with Fort Hamilton High School students this week on the issue. Earlier this year, Rose voted to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, a long-overdue, commonsense gun violence prevention measure which will save lives. Keeping his pledge to fight for gun safety reforms, Rose is also supporting legislation to ban the sale, manufacture, or possession of new military-style assault weapons to civilians.
Congressman Max Rose represents Staten Island and South Brooklyn which comprises New York’s 11th District.
SOURCE: Jonas Edwards-Jenks, Communications Director, Congressman Max Rose (NY-11).