Cooley Joins Everytown in Fight for Gun Safety Against ATF

Lawsuit addresses growing public safety threat posed by ‘ghost guns’

New York – August 26, 2020 – Cooley, alongside Everytown Law, filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking a court order compelling the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to address the growing public safety threat posed by “ghost guns,” untraceable firearms sold and manufactured without serial numbers or background checks. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Everytown for Gun Safety and the cities of Syracuse, New York; San Jose, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Columbia, South Carolina. Cooley partners Daniel Grooms, Kathleen Hartnett and Elizabeth Prelogar lead the Cooley team co-representing Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.  

“In sanctioning the unregulated sale of ghost gun components, ATF is acting contrary to federal law and jeopardizing public safety,” said Hartnett. “We are proud to partner with Everytown in our fight to right this wrong and make this country safer for all.”  

While a proper interpretation of the federal Gun Control Act would regulate the core components of ghost guns, ATF’s interpretation of the law allows people who can’t legally own a firearm to easily buy the parts for a ghost gun. With ATF’s license, a person can buy the parts and assemble a ghost gun without receiving a background check and, in just a few hours, create a fully functioning, untraceable firearm. According to a report by “60 Minutes,” at least 38 states have seen criminal cases involving ghost guns.  

“ATF’s failures mean it is far too easy for anyone with a credit card and a computer to get their hands on an untraceable gun with no serial number without ever having to leave their home,” said Eric Tirschwell, managing director for Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “Despite the unique threat posed by ghost guns, our lawsuit today alleges that the ATF is violating federal law and refusing to take action to protect the public. This case is about keeping guns out of the hands of individuals with dangerous histories and ensuring that those who use guns to commit crimes can be held accountable.”

Everytown for Gun Safety is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country, with nearly six million supporters and more than 375,000 donors. 

Read the full press release from Everytown

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Daniel Grooms  Partner Washington, DC
Kathleen R. Hartnett  Partner San Francisco
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