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Security Brief: Weapons/Tactics Week of April 10

Week of April 10-13, 2022 | Issue 3

Weapons and Tactics (W/T) Team

Manja Vitasovic, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Unserialized AR-15 Lower Receivers[1]



Date: April 11, 2022

Location: Washington DC, USA

Parties involved: President Joe Biden; US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); US Department of Justice (DoJ); US-based 80% firearm lower receiver manufacturers; US-based firearm distributors; local and state law enforcement agencies; unserialized firearm (ghost gun) owners

The event: President Biden introduced new regulations which restrict the manufacturing and possession of unserialized firearms components, including privately made/constructed guns (PMF). All 80% lower receiver companies, selling over-the-counter firearms assembly kits that require a drill to construct, must serialize all firearms and conduct buyer background checks. The ATF, state and local law enforcement agencies will have the authority to criminally charge manufacturers and owners of unserialized firearms components.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Despite ghost gun regulations, it is almost certain that hobbyists and criminals will 3D print lower receivers without serial numbers. The ban on unserialized firearms will very likely increase their price and black markets’ demand. Law enforcement agencies will likely monitor 3D printing material purchases and online distribution of 3D printed firearm schematics to detect persons and groups of interest.

  • It is likely that pro-firearm people and second amendment activists will protest against ghost gun regulations in front of government buildings, law enforcement agencies, courts, and other legislative buildings, likely carrying unserialized firearms. Law enforcement agencies will almost certainly face lethal force resistance when attempting firearm seizures and arrests.

  • Individuals with criminal intent will very likely anonymize firearms by scraping off serial numbers and will likely find alternative methods of obtaining untraceable lethal weapons. There is a roughly even chance that individuals without a criminal history will be increasingly solicited to purchase firearms for persons banned from firearms possession. Law enforcement agencies will very likely conduct undercover sting operations to seek out ex-felons, wanted criminals, and banned personnel who are engaging in substitution purchasing requests.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Ghost guns” by Mitch Barrie licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

[2] FACT SHEET: The Biden Administration Cracks Down on Ghost Guns, Ensures That ATF Has the Leadership it Needs to Enforce Our Gun Laws, White House, April 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/04/11/fact-sheet-the-biden-administration-cracks-down-on-ghost-guns-ensures-that-atf-has-the-leadership-it-needs-to-enforce-our-gun-laws/

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