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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday called for a federal crackdown on ghost guns amid a staggering surge in seizures of the DIY weapons in New York City.
Schumer (D-NY) lamented that the untraceable firearms that buyers assemble themselves have too often ended up in the wrong hands — such as those of the Bronx teen charged in a shooting Friday that left a 16-year-old girl dead and two others wounded.
“These guns are too easy to build, too hard to trace, and too dangerous to be allowed,” Schumer told reporters in Manhattan. “Anyone can just buy a gun online without any background checks — even dangerous criminals.”
The senator added: “The issue of ghost guns is haunting all of New York.”
NYPD statistics show a 351% increase in the number of ghost guns recovered by police so far this year. At least 131 of the makeshift firearms were seized between Jan. 1 and Wednesday — compared to just 29 during the same period in 2021.
Schumer called on the federal government to put in place rules that would classify “partially complete” frames and receivers as firearms, which would subject them to gun regulations, including background checks and serial numbers.
Online sellers of ghost gun parts and kits would also be required to register as licensed firearms dealers under the proposed rules.
“It is disgusting, dangerous and dastardly that anyone—a felon, a child, anyone, can go online right now and buy these kits like candy and do real damage or cause serious harm,” Schumer said. “We must unite behind the goal of stopping these ghost guns from proliferating like this.”
Schumer has previously called on the Biden administration to close the ghost gun loophole.
The accused shooter, 17-year-old Jeremiah Ryan, was caught throwing a Polymer80 ghost gun outside of a Bronx apartment window before he was arrested.
“These guns are too easy to build, too hard to trace, and too dangerous to be on our streets,” Schumer said Sunday. “Just ask the family of that beautiful 16-year-old who was killed in the Bronx.”
Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance last year labeled ghost guns “a significant public safety threat in a way that they weren’t even two years ago.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul in October signed legislation to crack down on ghost guns in New York, including making it illegal to possess an unfinished gun frame or receiver by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer.
In February, ahead of the president’s visit to New York City, the Biden administration announced plans to crack down on illegal ghost guns and firearms trafficking along the East Coast “iron pipeline.”