A Public Service of Santa Fe Community College
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FBI Director Responds to Sen. Heinrich on Ghost Guns

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray speaking at a Appropriations Subcommittee
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray speaking at an Appropriations Subcommittee

During a hearing to review the FY25 Budget Request for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico asked FBI Director Christopher Wray about how the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has helped law enforcement reduce gun violence, tackling the skyrocketing rise of ghost guns, and combating the flow of illicit fentanyl within the U.S.

“One of the other things that we haven’t, I don’t think, adequately addressed in the law yet, but which is skyrocketing, is these ghost guns or privately made firearms. Law enforcement has seen a 1000% increase in recoveries between 2016 and 2021. In 2022, we had a ghost gun used to shoot and kill a 16-year-old at West Mesa High School in Albuquerque, and I wish that were a completely isolated case. What is the FBI doing to recover and prevent the assembly of ghost guns, and what tools, more importantly, do you need from Congress to be able to get your hands around this challenge?”

FBI Director Cristopher Wray responded.

“So I would say ghost guns, as you say, represent a real challenge for law enforcement. Because the kits are cheap and widely available and undercut the ability to trace the firearm. And in effect end up undermining the background check process. Unfortunately, we are seeing ghost guns more and more in violent crime and gang investigations. Now as to authorities, you’re talking more ATF in terms of regulation or even legislation. But we do coordinate closely whenever we seize ghost guns as part of a takedown. We are obviously working closely with ATF on that. As to other things that Congress can do to help, at the risk of answering every question with the same answer, we need Congress to restore the progress that was made in ‘23 so that we can sustain our efforts against violent crime and sustain our work in terms of denial of firearms to the people who are legally prohibited from having them.”

In 2023, Heinrich cosponsored the bicameral Ghost Guns and Untraceable Firearms Act which would require sellers of gun-making kits to comply with federal firearm safety regulations.

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.