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DOJ Classifies Gun Parts as Firearms Requiring Background Checks

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The Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) finalized a rule Wednesday that classifies parts in a gun parts kit as firearms that require a background check to purchase, like the one required for “traditional firearms.”

Breitbart News reported the then-proposed rule on April 11, 2022, noting that the new classification of gun parts was designed to be part of an effort to ban firearms that Democrats describe as “ghost guns.”

Democrats use the phrase “ghost guns” to describe firearms Americans can build themselves. The firearms are often built from an 80 percent receiver in the case of a rifle, or 80 percent frame, in the case of a pistol. Building such guns has long been an American hobby. The rule, as proposed by the DOJ, refers to the 80 percent parts kits as “buy, build, shoot” kits and they label the kits themselves as “firearms.”

On August 24, 2022, the DOJ announced its rule is now final and in effect.

The text of the Final Rule 2021R-05F makes clear that a “partially complete frame or receiver” is now covered under the definition of “frames” or “receivers.”

Other aspects of the rule, summarized by the ATF’s announcement of finalization, include the following:

  • To help keep guns from being sold to convicted felons and other prohibited purchasers, the rule makes clear that retailers must run background checks before selling kits that contain the parts necessary for someone to readily make a gun.
  • To help law enforcement trace guns used in a crime, the rule modernizes the definition of frame or receiver, clarifying which part of a weapon must be marked with a serial number – including in easy-to-build firearm kits.
  • To help reduce the number of unmarked and hard-to-trace “ghost guns,” the rule establishes requirements for federally licensed firearms dealers and gunsmiths to have a serial number added to 3D printed guns or other un-serialized firearms they take into inventory.

A fourth summary says the rule also mandates that Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs) must “retain records for the length of time they are licensed, thereby expanding records retention beyond the prior requirement of 20 years.” This means there will be a record of the gun sale — including serial number, purchaser’s name, address, etc. — on file at the gun store for the ATF to peruse when they visit the store to check on the FFLs record keeping.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. Reach him at [email protected]. You can sign up to get Down Range at


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