A new bill co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda, D-Hawaii, seeks to close a loophole in firearms disposal regulation that allows disposal companies to make a profit selling recycled gun parts on the secondary market.

Tokuda joined the bill’s author, U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., fellow Congressional members and gun-control advocates in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday for a news conference introducing the measure.

“Maxwell and I have both been absolutely horrified and alarmed by the growing influence of the private gun-disposal companies and their role in fueling what is a secondary arms market in our country,” Tokuda said. “We are literally seeing guns intended to be destroyed instead are being recycled and sold for profit. They’re making profit by endangering the lives of everyday Americans, our citizens. These are untraceable pieces (sold) as parts of kits. They’re being given out, sold, put together and used without even the need for a simple background check. This is absolutely ridiculous. This is insane.”

As Frost explained, guns that are retired, seized or bought back by law-enforcement agencies are routinely sent to gun-disposal companies to be destroyed. However, for the firearms to be considered legally destroyed, only one piece, like the receiver or frame, needs to be crushed or otherwise destroyed. Some companies, like industry leader Gun Busters, then take the remaining functional parts and sell them as part of build-it-yourself kits used to make untraceable “ghost” guns.

Under the Destroy Zombie Guns Act, gun-disposal companies would be required to destroy the entire firearm, not just a single piece.

“We cannot allow this mass proliferation of guns to continue to allow violent criminals and anyone who poses a threat to society in our community to continue to be walking around with an untraceable gun right here in our communities, in our schools, near our homes, near our children,” Tokuda said. “It’s really that simple. Without action, without passage of a bill like this, more about actors would easily be able to do exactly that—procure a gun and sadly to use it in ways that we have seen are absolutely destructive to communities, to families and our loved ones.”

Tokuda said local and federal law enforcement have reported growing numbers of ghost guns and unassembled gun parts in Hawaii.

“The guns found are often assembled at home from parts purchased online, possibly recycled from guns intended to be destroyed, parts of these kits we’re talking about,” she said.

Both Tokuda and Frost said the bill is not intended to solve the proliferation of untraceable weapons in the United States but a necessary piece of a broader strategy to combat gun violence.

Michael Tsai covers local and state politics for Spectrum News Hawaii. He can be reached at michael.tsai@charter.com.