President Joe Biden to announce new steps to combat the rising problem with ghost guns

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A plan to combat untraceable guns is expected to come out of Washington D.C. this week, which could help police fight crime in Houston.

In January, ABC13 exclusively caught video of a shootout between Houston police and a suspect. The standoff happened near downtown and injured three officers.

The suspect brought ghost guns to this shootout, according to the Houston Forensic Science Center.

"These are disturbing patterns just the sheer number of guns we're seeing," HFSC Dr. Peter Stout said in February. "The number of full autos, ghost guns. That's not the pattern you want to see."

A few years ago, HFSC said there were only a few ghost guns found by police. In 2021, HPD dealt with more than 40.

Ghost guns are weapons that can't be traced. They're assembled with different parts, that don't cost a lot of money.

"Ghost guns typically refer to guns that are manufactured without a serialized identifier," Stout said.

Changes could be made to try and make ghost guns harder to make. Reporting Sunday indicates President Joe Biden could announce new steps as soon as Monday.

We aren't exactly sure what the action could be, but in 2021, the ATF proposed to classify parts that make up ghost guns as firearms. This would make a difference, because parts purchased online currently aren't classified as firearms, and don't require tracking.

The proposal would also require manufactures who sell parts used in ghost guns to be licensed and run background checks.

"There isn't some giant database relating guns to people that also is not constitutional, but if you don't have a means of linking that specific weapon between crimes it makes it much more difficult to track a weapon as it moves around," Stout explained.

A way to track weapons so they're no longer ghosts might prevent future violent crime, like this shootout involving a ghost gun in January.

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