Four States and ATF to Share Gun Data: White House Encourages National Policy

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jan 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

In what could be a harbinger of national policy, the Associated Press reported Oct. 7 the Democratic governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York have signed a 10-page agreement to share gun-crime information.

The White House press secretary’s office immediately praised the agreement. “This data-sharing agreement recognizes the reality that firearms cross state lines, and we therefore need a multijurisdictional approach to tackling gun violence.”

The unsigned White House statement continued, “We encourage other state and local officials to follow these Governors' lead and collaborate to reduce our shared challenge of gun violence.”

Governors Go on Record

Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York echoed the White House's position, “If Congress would simply allow us to share this nationally, what a better place this would be.”

“We have got to work together in ways that we have not before,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf explained.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont stated, “If you're not taking guns seriously, you're not taking law and order seriously.”

Gov. Phil Murphy reported that about 85% of guns recently confiscated by police in New Jersey come from other states. “Our individual states' gun laws are only as good as those in the rest of our neighborhood,” he said.

Data Sharing and Privacy

In addition to sharing out-of-state gun purchase data with each other, the four states will access the “eTrace” database of the federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau. The ATF collects data on guns recovered from crime investigations.

The four-state agreement, which is renewable every five years, stipulates that only law enforcement personnel can access the data. Additionally, the data may only be stored on computer systems dedicated to criminal justice.

Ghost Guns Targeted

One of the top priorities of the four-state consortium will be tracking the sale, purchase, and illegal interstate traffic of “ghost guns.” These firearms can range from simple handguns to assault rifles. Ghost guns can easily be assembled from do-yourself kits. They have no serial numbers, which makes them almost impossible to trace. Assembled weapons are bought and sold on the black market without background checks.

Ghost gun kits are still legal under federal law because they are not considered firearms. That would change, however, under proposed Rule 2021R-05 of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The rule would define kits as firearms and require serial numbers and other traceable markings on the critical gun components.

Ghost guns are legal in Pennsylvania, but New Jersey and Connecticut have already banned such guns. Gov. Hochul signed a legislative package on Oct. 28 that makes the sale, purchase, and possession of ghost guns and kits felonies in New York effective Jan. 6, 2022.

Gun Rights and Responsibilities

Gun regulations are in a volatile state of flux at all levels of government and across jurisdictions, especially when it comes to different states. Gun owners, buyers, and sellers have the responsibility to know the laws around ghost guns, concealed weapons, or other variable firearm restrictions.

Ignorance of the law is not an excuse in a court of law. If you or someone you love has run afoul of gun laws in Pennsylvania, you'll need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm will fight for your rights. Call 888-535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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