About a month ago Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) introduced a bill regulating so-called “ghost guns.” The regulation’s not a straight up prohibition, but rather sets a permissive atmosphere in the way of suing manufacturers and distributors of the parts and components that make up a “ghost gun.” The dangers of this type of legislation should not even have to be highlighted, as most can see this is an egregious proposal. The title says it all; H.R.7544 – To provide a private right of action against the maker of any component of a ghost gun, and any person who facilitated a sale of the ghost gun, for injury or death resulting from the use of the ghost gun.
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.
Where the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is a commonsense measure keeping frivolous lawsuits from being able to occur, this proposal would take the abolishment of that even further. Here’s a good analogy; the family of a slain person suing the hammer manufacturer for making the hammer that bludgeoned their loved one to death. Then taking it a step further, this kind of proposal would allow the family to sue the company that made the handle for the hammer company. What about the lumber mill that produced the wood? To what ends would this kind of a garbage proposal go to and through?
Torres, in a statement, runs his mouth about the usual gun-grabbing misinformation:
“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.”
“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.”
Taking a look at the text of the bill, we get a more precise picture of what’s included:
In General.—An individual who is injured, and any member of the family of an individual who is killed, by use of a ghost gun in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, and the State and the political subdivision of the State in which the injury or death occurs, may bring an action in the United States district court for the judicial district in which the injury or death occurs against the maker of any component of the ghost gun or any person who facilitated any sale of the ghost gun, for damages resulting from the injury or death. The court may award a plaintiff prevailing in such an action such damages, including consequential damages, as the court deems appropriate.
The whole of what may be included to subjugation of such a law would leave conventional parts companies vulnerable as well. If someone is looking to build a firearm from an 80% frame they procure, they’re more than likely going to purchase aftermarket parts that are the same parts one would use to swap out in a conventional serialized non-home built firearm. In short, every parts manufacturer could be sued depending on what components were selected by any so-called ghost gun conjurer.
Torres is another politician jumping on the “look I’m doing something” bandwagon. Ghost guns being the cause celeb with the anti-freedom caucus members these days, why not use them to push an agenda? What these anti-civil rights cretins are trying to achieve is full civilian disarmament, and to get there, they’re happy to use the death by one thousand cuts methodology. Let’s face it, that’s what we’re dealing with. Because no one’s so grossly obtuse to link the parts manufacturer to murder, are they?