Biden admin announces crackdown on illegal ghost guns

The Biden administration has announced its intention to crack down on illegal ghost weapons and gun trafficking along the East Coast’s “iron pipeline” – just in time for the president’s visit to New York on Thursday to discuss rising gun violence.

President Biden is expected to address the new effort when he and Attorney General Merrick Garland meet with Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul later Thursday.

Among the slew of measures is the Justice Department’s new national phantom gun initiative, which aims to crack down on homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them.

The DOJ effort will prioritize federal charges against people who use ghost weapons, as well as those who sell or transfer guns used in violent crimes.

It will also crack down on the so-called “iron pipeline,” which refers to the illegal flow of weapons sold in the South, transported to the East Coast and then found at crime scenes in cities, including the Big Apple.

The initiative will see the DOJ train prosecutors specifically on phantom guns so they can help prosecute those who use illegal firearms to commit crimes, the administration said.

President Biden is expected to announce a crackdown on “phantom guns” when he and Attorney General Merrick Garland meet with New York officials.
Carolyn Kaster/Pool via REUTERS
Kathy Hochul.
Governor Kathy Hochul will also join the meeting with President Biden.
Don Pollard

Biden’s new measures build on some initiatives already underway and offer suggestions for local governments on how to spend federal money.

The president has proposed a $300 million budget that calls for increased funding for local community policing programs — but that effort is stalled in Congress.

He is expected to urge Congress to pass the funding measure when he visits New York.

Chuck Schumer.
President Biden is expected to urge Congress to pass his proposed $300 million budget to increase funding for local community policing programs.
Daniel William McKnight

Biden’s visit comes a day after the funeral of the second NYPD officer shot in the line of duty last month in Manhattan.

Detective Wilbert Mora’s funeral took place just hours after another NYPD officer was shot and injured elsewhere in the city on his way to work.

Adams spoke out against gun violence as he praised Mora, saying, “Last night we were reminded again of the danger and overproliferation of guns.”

Eric Adams at Wilbert Mora's funeral.
Mayor Eric Adams spoke out against rising gun violence at the funeral of NYPD officer Wilbert Mora.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The Big Apple has been grappling with a series of high-profile crimes over the past month, including the deaths of Mora and her partner, Jason Rivera, a fatal push on the subway under Times Square, a stray bullet on a baby and a robbery deadly in a Burger King.

“It’s New Yorkers against the killers, and we won’t lose,” Adams said at the funeral, pledging to give police “the resources to address this violence.”

Adams said he hopes federal and state lawmakers give police the help they deserve.

Fire arms.
New York City has been grappling with a string of high-profile crimes over the past month.
Gabriella Bass
Fire arms.
Firearms seized from a party bus in Brooklyn.
New York City Police Department via AP

“These officers, every day, put on their uniforms, pin this shield to their chest, put on this bulletproof vest and go back to the streets,” Adams said. “They always go back and do their job. Now is the time for lawmakers to do their job.