New ATF rules go into effect as police try to keep up with rise in ‘ghost guns’ in Minnesota

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New federal rules meant to track so-called “ghost guns” come into effect as police deal with the continuing wave of shootings in the Twin Cities.

Starting Wednesday, anyone who buys a kit to build a gun at home — privately made guns — must pass a background check.

The new rules also require these homemade kits to include serial numbers like any other commercially sold firearm.

The new rules will not prevent people from making their own firearms at home instead of buying them from registered gun shops or gun dealers.

“If you want to make one on a 3D printer, you’re still allowed as long as you’re not banned by the federal government,” said William McCrary, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol’s St. Paul Field division. , Tobacco. , firearms and explosives (ATF).

McCrary said the new rules are intended to help better track what police call “ghost weapons” that have been showing up at crime scenes in the Twin Cities.

RELATED: Brooklyn Park PD sees more phantom guns on the streets; new federal rules expected soon

“We recovered double what we recovered last year and it was about double the year before,” McCrary said. “If they didn’t show up at crime scenes, it wouldn’t be so bad, but they are.”

The ATF rules went into effect as planned after a federal judge dismissed a legal challenge from a North Dakota gun owner and more than a dozen Republican attorneys general who have claimed that the agency had “exceeded its authority”.

They argued, in part, that the ATF “incorrectly referred to” the term “privately manufactured firearm” to limit the constitutional rights of gun owners.

In a decision filed Tuesday, Judge Peter Welte found that the ATF can define firearms as necessary and that the agency acted in the interests of law enforcement and public safety.

Rob Doar, the vice chair of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, previously told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the new rules won’t be a huge burden on legal gun owners.

But he played down the impact the additional regulations will have on crime.

“If we see this as some sort of solution to a public safety crisis that we’re going through, we’re going to be setting ourselves up for a huge disappointment,” Doar said earlier this month.

Rashmi Seneviratne, executive director of Protect Minnesota, a nonprofit that advocates for gun reform in the state, said while the rules are limited in scope, they’re still a step in the right direction. .

“One thing won’t fix everything, but we can do a lot of little things that will reduce gun violence,” she said.

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