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"Ghost guns" that were secured by the DC Metropolitan Police Department are on display during a press conference. Photo: Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Department of Justice released a proposed rule Friday that would broaden the definition of "firearm" and require some gun-making kits to include serial numbers.

The big picture: President Biden last month unveiled a series of executive actions on guns, including directing the DOJ to propose a rule to crack down on the proliferation of "ghost guns," which are untraceable firearms assembled from kits.

  • The Justice Department estimates that from 2016 to 2020, law enforcement recovered more than 23,000 weapons without serial numbers from potential crime scenes, including those in connection to 325 homicides or attempted homicides.

Details: The proposed rule would close a regulatory loophole that currently allows gun purchasers to avoid federal background checks by buying unassembled firearms online.

  • Under the proposed rule, retailers would be required to run background checks before selling kits that contain the parts necessary for someone to readily make a gun at home.
  • The rule would require manufacturers to include a serial number on the firearm “frame or receiver” in easy-to-build firearm kits.
  • The rule would also establish requirements for federally licensed firearms dealers to have a serial number added to 3D-printed guns or other firearms without serial numbers that they take into inventory.

What they're saying: "We are committed to taking commonsense steps to address the epidemic of gun violence that takes the lives of too many people in our communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news release.

  • “Although this rulemaking will solve only one aspect of the problem, we have an obligation to do our part to keep our families and our neighborhoods safe from gun violence," he added.

What's next: The proposal has to undergo multiple stages of consultation from the public before it is finalized.

Go deeper

Southwest heat wave intensifies, breaks records and worsens drought

A temperature "misery index" shows peak levels across the Southwest (orange and yellow), and the upper air flow shows how the jet stream is being pushed north, away from the heat dome parked over the Four Corners region. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

Updated 53 mins ago - World

Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," but blames U.S. for tensions

Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference following the meetings, according to a translator.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Live updates: Putin concludes press conference, Biden up next

President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for less than four hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: At a press conference following the conclusion of the summit, Putin called the talks "very constructive' and announced that the U.S. and Russia's respective ambassadors would return to their posts.