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Reducing Gun Violence

The Department of Justice is taking steps to help address the continuing epidemic of gun violence affecting communities across the country. 

Model Legislation

Model Legislation for Reporting Lost and Stolen Firearms

On December 13, 2023, the Department of Justice announced model legislation on lost and stolen firearms to help states craft appropriate requirements for the prompt reporting of such firearms to law enforcement. 

Every year, thousands of firearms are lost or stolen out of vehicles, businesses, and private homes. The timely reporting of lost and stolen firearms allows police to develop investigative leads and identify patterns that might indicate the involvement of illicit firearms traffickers. 

Based on similar laws already in effect across 12 states and the District of Columbia, the model theft/loss-reporting legislation will help additional states craft laws to ensure prompt and responsible engagement with local law enforcement.

Model Legislation for Safe Storage of Firearms

On December 13, 2023, the Department of Justice announced model legislation on secure firearm storage to help states craft appropriate requirements for securing firearms kept in residences and vehicles, to ensure that those firearms do not fall into the hands of children, teens, and prohibited persons.

Empirical evidence shows that the secure storage of firearms saves lives. Keeping firearms and ammunition locked has been associated with a lower risk of firearm injuries for children and teens in homes where guns are stored. And safe storage protects both minors and adults by preventing unintentional shootings and decreasing the risk of gun suicides, gun thefts, and criminal discharges of firearms.

Based on similar laws already on the books in over a dozen states, the model secure-storage legislation will help additional states craft laws to reduce the risks associated with unattended firearms.

Model Legislation for Extreme Risk Protection Orders

On June 7, 2021, the Department of Justice announced it had published model legislation to help states craft their own “extreme risk protection order” laws.

Research has shown that states can save lives by authorizing courts to issue extreme risk protection orders that temporarily prevent a person in crisis from accessing firearms. 

The Department has published model legislation to provide a framework for states to consider as they determine whether and how to craft laws allowing law enforcement, concerned family members, or others to seek these orders and to intervene before warning signs turn into tragedy. 

The model draws on a significant number of similar laws adopted across the country.  The Department is not endorsing any particular formulation of an ERPO statute, and the model is not intended to be a comprehensive scheme that could be adopted wholesale.  Instead, it identifies key provisions, different existing approaches, and options for states to consider.  In drafting its own legislation, each state must account for its own policy, legal, constitutional, administrative, and operational considerations and requirements.  States may also wish to review any proposed federal legislation that would create incentives for establishing particular forms of ERPO laws.

New Regulation on Stabilizing Braces

On June 7, 2021, the Department announced it had issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would make clear that the statutory restrictions on short-barreled rifles apply to pistols that are equipped with certain stabilizing braces and intended to be fired from the shoulder.  The National Firearms Act imposes heightened regulations on short-barreled rifles because they are easily concealable, can cause great damage, and are more likely to be used to commit crimes.  But companies now sell accessories that make it easy for people to convert pistols into these more dangerous weapons without going through the statute’s background check and registration requirements.  These requirements are important public safety measures because they regulate the transfer of these weapons and help ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands.  The proposed rule will clarify when these accessories convert pistols into weapons covered by these heightened regulations.

View the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

New Regulation to Update Firearms Definition

On May 7, 2021, the Department of Justice announced it had issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would update the definitions of “firearm” and related parts for the first time since 1968.

The proposed rule would modernize the definition of “frame or receiver” and help close a regulatory loophole associated with the un-serialized privately made firearms that are increasingly being recovered at crime scenes across the country. These unmarked firearms, known as “ghost guns,” are often assembled from kits that are sold without background checks, making them easily acquired by criminals who otherwise would not be permitted to possess a firearm.

View the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Updated February 8, 2024