BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – The White House is taking new steps to crack down on ‘ghost guns.’ These weapons are homemade, unregistered and untraceable.

The White House announced a new federal rule to tackle ghost gun violence, the rule would change the current definition of a firearm under federal law to include unfinished parts. The rule, expected to go into effect in four months, also requires firearms dealers to run background checks before they sell ghost gun kits that contain parts needed to assemble a firearm.

“It’s nice to see an announcement coming out today that is at least addressing the problem, we need to keep going though,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told News 4.

Local law enforcement aims to remove ghost guns from the streets of Buffalo, but say they have a long way to go.

According to Gramaglia, the department has collected 18 ghost guns so far in 2022. At this time last year, only five were collected. He says the city is on track to beating last year’s total, where they collected 70 ghost guns.

“When someone is buying these, they’re buying them in in kits of 10 and 20, and then they’re getting those guns manufactured and getting them out on the streets. We’re only scratching the surface with the amount of ghost guns,” Gramaglia said.

“It’s very concerning — I mean that’s 70 weapons that may or may not have been used in a crime, because they’re not traceable, that were more than likely in the hands of someone not legally allowed to possess a weapon,” said retired Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo. “It’s a very serious problem and needs to be addressed. It’s basically a way to cheat the system.”

Officials say ghost guns are becoming more accessible because of companies that sell kits to assemble guns.

“Basically everything that you need, the most difficult parts of these things to manufacture, you’re getting in a kit, along with the instructions of how to put it together,” Rinaldo said.

“Obviously these ghost gun kits exist for a reason, and it’s for illegal possession of these weapons so that they can conduct illegal crimes, violent crimes,” Gramaglia said. “The work-around is that these gun kits need to be serialized. They need to have background checks, permits, you have to go through the same process that you do now to purchase any other gun.”

News 4 also caught up with Leonard Lane, the president of the anti-violence organization Buffalo Fathers. He said he is concerned with how many ghost guns might be still in the community. He’s working with other anti-violence groups to help law enforcement tackle this.

“We know the numbers, as scary as it is, that it’s going to go up, and we have to educate as many members of our community on the ghost guns, and has they’re still guns and they have easy access,” he said.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.