Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

116th Congress    }                                            {   Report
                           HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                            {   116-88

======================================================================



 
   HOMELAND SECURITY ASSESSMENT OF TERRORISTS' USE OF GHOST GUNS ACT

                                _______
                                

  May 28, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, from the Committee on Homeland Security, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2621]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2621) to direct the Under Secretary for 
Intelligence and Analysis of the Department of Homeland 
Security to develop and disseminate a threat assessment 
regarding terrorist use of ghost guns, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
C.B.O. Estimate, New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and 
  Tax Expenditures...............................................     3
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     5
Duplicative Federal Programs.....................................     5
Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
  Benefits.......................................................     5
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     5

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The purpose of H.R. 2621, the ``Homeland Security 
Assessment of Terrorists' Use of Ghost Guns Act,'' is to ensure 
that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains 
focused attention to the homeland security threat posed by 
ghost guns, which are unregistered, untraceable weapons that 
are sold and assembled without a serial number. H.R. 2621 
requires the DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) to 
develop and disseminate an annual terrorism threat assessment 
regarding the availability of ghost guns in furtherance of an 
act of terrorism, including the provision of material support 
or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. H.R. 2621 
also requires I&A to share this assessment with state, local, 
and tribal law enforcement officials.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Ghost guns--unregistered, untraceable weapons sold and 
assembled without a serial number--present a homeland security 
challenge. These weapons are sold or made in forms that evade 
existing federal restrictions on the sale and purchase of 
firearms, leaving the door open for terrorists and other bad 
actors to get their hands on guns--ranging from small pistols 
to AR-15s--and elude detection when law enforcement officials 
attempt to trace the weapon.
    Ghost guns not only pose a challenge on the front end, 
enabling prohibited buyers to purchase deadly weapons with just 
a few clicks online, but also on the back end, hamstringing law 
enforcement's ability to investigate crimes committed with 
untraceable weapons. The wide availability of ghost guns and 
the emergence of functional 3D-printed guns are a homeland 
security threat. Terrorists and other bad actors may seek to 
exploit the availability of these weapons for dangerous ends.
    On January 11, 2019, DHS, the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation (FBI), and the National Counterterrorism Center 
(NCTC) released a Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) warning of 
the threat stemming from the use of ghost guns by criminal 
actors and terrorists. The JIB cautioned that these rapidly 
evolving technologies pose an ongoing, metastasizing challenge 
to law enforcement in understanding, tracking, and tracing 
ghost guns. On April 22, 2019, DHS released an intelligence 
assessment that repeated the warning that ghost guns pose an 
urgent and evolving threat to the homeland, particularly in the 
hands of ideologically motivated lone wolf actors.
    Representative Max Rose (D-NY) introduced H.R. 2621 to 
ensure that DHS remains focused on the evolving homeland 
security threat posed by ghost guns by requiring I&A to develop 
and disseminate an annual ghost guns terrorism threat 
assessment. This legislation builds on the Committee's history 
of advancing legislation directing DHS to develop and 
disseminate to State, local, and tribal law enforcement 
partners, targeted terrorism threats assessments of emerging 
threats such as terrorist exploitation of unmanned aerial 
systems and crypto-currency.
    H.R. 2621 is supported by the International Association of 
Chiefs of Police. In addition, John J. Miller, the Deputy 
Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism for the New 
York Police Department (NYPD), stated that H.R. 2621 
``represents a first step in assessing the threat level and 
potential devastating impact of untraceable firearms, commonly 
known as `ghost guns.'''

                                HEARINGS

    The Committee did not hold any legislative hearings on H.R. 
2621 in the 116th Congress. However, this legislation was 
informed by testimony received during a Committee on Homeland 
Security hearing on May 8, 2019, entitled, ``Confronting the 
Rise of Domestic Terrorism in the Homeland.'' Additionally, the 
Committee received testimony regarding the threat posed by 
ghost guns from Mr. Michael McGarrity, Assistant Director for 
Counterterrorism at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 
and Mr. Brian Murphy, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for 
Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland 
Security.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    The Committee met on May 15, 2019, with a quorum being 
present, to consider H.R. 2621 and ordered the measure to be 
reported to the House with a favorable recommendation, without 
amendment, by voice vote.

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the recorded 
votes on the motion to report legislation and amendments 
thereto.
    No recorded votes were requested during consideration of 
H.R. 2621.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATE NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY, ENTITLEMENT 
                    AUTHORITY, AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of the estimate of new budget authority, 
entitlement authority, or tax expenditures or revenues 
contained in the cost estimate prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office.




    On May 15, the House Committee on Homeland Security ordered 
reported the following bills:
           H.R. 542, the Supporting Research and 
        Development for First Responders Act, which would 
        codify laboratory programs that currently exist at the 
        Department of Homeland Security (DHS);
           H.R. 2589, the Unifying DHS Intelligence 
        Enterprise Act, which would direct DHS to manage and 
        provide guidance for the use of intelligence throughout 
        the department;
           H.R. 2590, the DHS Overseas Personnel 
        Enhancement Act of 2019, which would require DHS to 
        devise a plan to improve the effectiveness of 
        department personnel who are stationed at foreign 
        locations;
           H.R. 2609, the DHS Acquisition Review Board 
        Act of 2019, which would direct the department to 
        establish a board to review major acquisition programs 
        and enhance accountability and uniformity in the review 
        process for DHS acquisitions; and
           H.R. 2621, the Homeland Security Assessment 
        of Terrorists Use of Ghost Guns Act, which would 
        require DHS to evaluate the threat posed by firearms 
        without unique serial numbers.
    DHS is currently carrying out activities similar to those 
required by the bills listed above, and any new activities 
required under the legislation would not require substantial 
action by the department. Thus, CBO estimates that implementing 
each bill would not significantly affect spending by DHS.
    The CBO staff contact for these estimates is Mark 
Grabowicz. The estimates were reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                      DUPLICATIVE FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of rule XIII, the Committee finds 
that H.R. 2621 does not contain any provision that establishes 
or reauthorizes a program known to be duplicative of another 
Federal program.

                    PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
2621 would require the Department of Homeland Security's Office 
of Intelligence and Analysis to develop an annual terrorist 
threat assessment regarding the availability of ghost guns in 
furtherance of an act of terrorism and disseminate such 
assessments to State, local, and tribal law enforcement 
officials.

                          ADVISORY ON EARMARKS

    In compliance with rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, this bill, as reported, contains no 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of the rule 
XXI.

             SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that this bill may be cited as the 
``Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists Use of Ghost Guns 
Act''.

Sec. 2. Threat assessment on terrorist use of ghost guns

    This section requires the Department of Homeland Security 
Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A) to develop and 
disseminate an annual terrorism threat assessment regarding the 
availability of ghost guns in furtherance of an act of 
terrorism, including the provision of material support or 
resources to a foreign terrorist organization. It requires I&A 
to share this assessment with State, local, and tribal law 
enforcement officials.
    This section sets forth definitions of the following terms: 
``foreign terrorist organization,'' referring to organizations 
designated as such under the Immigration and Nationality Act; 
``ghost gun,'' referring to a firearm, including a frame or 
receiver, that lacks a unique serial number; and ``frame or 
receiver,'' referring to the functional parts of a firearm.