U.S. senate minority leader Chuck Schumer was in Kingston on Monday to warn of the danger posed by untraceable “ghost guns” and to call for immediate federal action to mandate background checks on all large firearms components. Schumer’s visit coincides with a recent spike in gun violence in the city.
“Ghost guns” refers to firearms assembled from parts which can be easily purchased online without a background check. Unlike fully assembled guns purchased legally, ghost guns do not have serial numbers, making them nearly impossible for police to trace. Speaking at Kingston police headquarters alongside Mayor Steve Noble, County Executive Pat Ryan and law-enforcement officials from Orange and Ulster counties, Schumer said ghost guns made it frighteningly easy for convicted felons and others barred from owning firearms to obtain deadly weapons.
“I believe in the Second Amendment, always have,” said Schumer. “But there are always limits, and one of them is background checks.”
Schumer said that banning the sale of gun parts without a background check would not require legislative action. Instead, he said he planned to press the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to change their interpretation of an existing federal law to mandate background checks for the sale of major gun components.
“We don’t need legislation,” said Schumer. “They can do it with the flick of a pen.”