Notes as prepared for delivery
Thank you, Madam Vice-President, for this kind introduction.
There is no higher priority for the Department of Justice than keeping the American people safe.
That’s why we work with our community and law enforcement partners every day to fight violent crime through prevention and prosecution.
Too often, however, murders and other serious crimes are committed with guns.
Every victim of armed violence is a loved one, a neighbor, a friend of someone.
We stand united today in recognition of this loss and alongside all those affected by the tragedy of gun violence.
We also stand together with determination and hope for the future.
Just over a year ago, the President, Vice President and Attorney General stood in this very place to announce new measures to address gun violence.
One of these critical steps is to rule over the so-called “ghost guns”.
These are weapons that do not have a serial number; they are nearly impossible for law enforcement to trace. Many are sold without background checks. They are accessible to almost everyone.
They often come in kits – bought online – they can be put together quickly with little or no training.
This means someone can convert parts in a box into a working gun with alarming ease.
We call them ‘ghost guns’ because they can’t be found – but don’t get me wrong, they’re real; they can shoot to kill – and they do.
For years, criminals have sought out these unmarked weapons to kill and maim.
That’s why today Attorney General Garland signed a rule that updates our regulations to keep up with changing technology.
The goal: to keep unobtainable guns off the streets – out of the hands of criminals and others prohibited by law from owning a firearm.
Some of the key changes include: updating old definitions to ensure gun laws apply to all guns – including ghost guns; requiring gun dealers to perform background checks on kits containing parts that can easily be converted into a gun; facilitate tracing by requiring gun dealers to apply serial numbers to existing ghost guns they stock.
With these updates, law enforcement will have additional gun intelligence to help end gun violence, seek justice for victims of violent crime, and get guns used in crime off our streets.
Today’s announcement is one of many efforts by the Department of Justice to protect our communities from violent crime and gun violence.
We continue to pursue and disrupt firearms trafficking networks.
We continue to prosecute and hold accountable the most violent offenders.
And we work with our law enforcement partners and community leaders every day to develop specific strategies to address violent crime and keep communities safe.
We won’t stop until we reduce violent crime and save lives.
As the Attorney General has said, the department will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to fulfill this obligation.
And now I have the honor to introduce you to Mia Tretta, an inspiring young woman whose story illustrates why we are here today and why these actions are so important.