Published on July 20, 2022

HARTFORD, CONN (July 20, 2022) – Today, Mayor Luke Bronin announced that the City of Hartford has joined with 15 other American cities, three Texas District Attorneys, and Prosecutors Against Gun Violence to file an amicus brief opposing a preliminary injunction to enjoin the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from regulating “ghost guns.” The ATF rule would require manufacturers to be licensed, conduct background checks, and put serial numbers on parts. It would also require manufacturers and dealers to add a serial number to any un-serialized weapon in their inventory. It is meant to take effect this August. The injunction had been filed in May by Division 80, a Texas gun parts manufacturer, challenging the ghost gun regulations on Second Amendment grounds.

The City of Hartford joined Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, Dallas, Bexar, and Travis County District Attorneys, as well as the cities of Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dayton, Los Angeles, New York, Newark, NJ, Oakland, CA, Philadelphia, Providence, Rochester, NY, San Francisco, Seattle, and Syracuse. In 2020, the City had joined 10 other cities, 18 states, and the District of Columbia in supporting a lawsuit pushing the ATF to properly regulate ghost guns under federal law.

“You cannot claim to be serious about fighting gun crime if you're not serious about restricting access to ghost guns," said Mayor Bronin.  "Ghost guns are real and growing problem in cities across the country, and our police are seeing and seizing them more and more often with every passing month. Ghost guns are designed to be untraceable, they undermine the most basic common-sense gun laws, they serve absolutely no legitimate purpose for law-abiding gun owners, they're being used in gun crimes across the country, and we need urgent action on a federal level. This ATF rule would help increase the traceability of illegal guns and require background checks for anyone who seeks to buy a gun kit, and it will help save lives and cut down on gun violence nationwide."

Illegal ghost guns are being seized at exponentially increasing rates across the country. In 2021 alone, 20,000 ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations, ten times the number recovered in 2016. In San Francisco and Los Angeles, over 20% of all guns seized in 2021 were ghost guns. The Hartford Police Department seized 29 ghost guns last year, and has recovered 34 so far this year.

A separate amicus brief also defending the ATF rule has been filed by a coalition of 20 state Attorneys General including Connecticut Attorney General Tong. This brief was filed by the Attorneys General of the District of Columbia and the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.   

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