Rep. Torres To Introduce New Federal Legislation To Combat Distribution Of Ghost Guns

Apr 15, 2022
Press

New Bill Would Create A Private Right Of Action Against

The Maker Of Any Component Of A Ghost Gun

Bronx, NY: Today, Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15) was joined by gun safety advocates and cure violence organizations to announce that he will introduce federal gun legislation that will allow individuals and families impacted by ghost guns to file lawsuits against manufacturers. The legislation is a response to the recent shootings in the Bronx and Brooklyn, and the rise in gun violence in New York City and the United States more broadly. Though there are existing bills that repeal the Bush-era law that gave gun manufacturers immunity to civil lawsuits, none extend to manufacturers of partially assembled guns or unserialized guns and gun parts, also known as ghost guns.

A ghost gun is a privately assembled and untraceable firearm that lacks a unique serial number engraved by a licensed manufacturer or licensed importer. In 2021, 20,000 ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations across the United States– a tenfold increase since 2016. This legislation removes the civil liability shield on manufacturers that produce any component of a ghost gun, allowing gun violence victims and their families to pursue a private right of action.

“The gun violence epidemic is out of control and it’s a crisis that is too glaring to ignore. Within the past week alone there have been several fatal instances of gun violence throughout New York City, including the death of a sixteen-year-old girl in the Bronx and several critical injuries in the terrorist attack in Brooklyn,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres. “These recent shootings are not isolated cases. We have seen a substantial rise in gun violence throughout New York City and the United States within the last year, and it is past time for federal legislation that addresses the proliferation of untraceable guns throughout the country.”

Gun violence has increased substantially across New York City in the past year, with high rates of shooting incidents in the Bronx and Brooklyn. According to data from the New York Police Department (NYPD), there have been 1,207 gun arrests since the start of 2020, and a 16% increase in shooting incidents between March 2021 and 2022. 

“It should not take gun violence and deaths in our communities to pass gun safety legislation that allows victims to hold manufacturers accountable,” said Rep. Torres. “ I am proud to introduce long-overdue legislation that will allow victims and their families to seek justice in civil court. I hope Congress will act swiftly to pass this important bill.”

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