• Press Release

Activists Cautiously Optimistic About Ghost Gun Ruling and ATF Nominee: “We Wanted to Cheer This On Last Spring.”

Washington, D.C. — The President’s announcement today finalizing a ruling defining ghost guns as firearms and unveiling his nominee for ATF Director is an important one. It will begin to curb the wrenching and needless violence that ghost guns wreck on our communities because of what amounts to a clerical error. We applaud the President for this step forward, but we’re clear-eyed that in many ways today’s announcement simply brings us to square one.

Steve Dettelbach’s nomination comes over 200 days after the White House dropped the ball on their first ATF nominee, and it remains to be seen whether the White House will mount a serious advocacy campaign in the Senate to usher in only the second ATF Director in fifteen years. We’ve yet to see any significant changes to the President’s lobbying strategy on this or any other gun violence prevention proposal that would indicate success. Proactive enforcement against bad actors in the gun industry, like Jimenez Firearms, is desperately needed as gun violence is fueled by an industry that cares more about profits than human lives.

We’re pleased to see the President take executive action on Ghost Guns through a Department of Justice ruling. We cannot emphasize enough that time is of the essence—lives hang in the balance. It is simply unacceptable to wait for a recalcitrant Congress to take action on gun violence prevention. Thousands of lives will be lost if the President passes the buck to Congress and waits. As today’s announcement demonstrates, the President has the constitutional ability to break through the logjam to take immediate action. We applaud him for doing so today and we urge him to continue to do so wherever he is able to, and with the urgency that this emergency requires. Today’s actions must simply be a start.

As we’ve done for over a year now, we continue to urge the President to name a cabinet-level Director of Gun Violence Prevention who can set an overarching strategy to cut gun deaths in half by 2030. This leader would help lift gun violence to the top of the President’s agenda, help marshall the full weight of the Federal government behind cutting gun deaths, and steer complex issues forward to ensure they don’t get left behind—like the nomination and confirmation of an ATF Director. All this without the need for congressional approval.

While we are pleased with the President’s announcement today, we would have liked to enthusiastically applaud the President for making these moves last Spring. We await further bold and timely actions from the President to save lives from gun violence soon.