As I’m sure by now SMM readers know, Temporary President Biden has gone all in, via bureaucratic rule making, to ban “ghost guns.” He has done this because he knows he could never get such nonsense through Congress. Not even congressional D/S/Cs would walk in lockstep on gun control, which these days, is political poison. Biden and his anti-liberty/gun supporters claim this is necessary because “ghost guns” are untraceable and they’re being used in bazillions of crimes. I’ll explain the lunacy of both assertions, but first, let’s get a bit of background, first from Cam Edwards at Bearing Arms:
From the get-go, the ABC piece’s premise is that something must be done about the scourge of home-built guns that are flooding American cities.[skip]
‘I could spend hours telling these stories about how these ghost guns have hurt our community and made our streets unsafe,’ Baltimore Police Chief Michael Harrison, whose department seized nine ghost guns in 2018 compared to 352 in 2021, said at a January press conference.
Let’s talk about Baltimore for a paragraph or two. The number of ‘ghost guns’ recovered by police has soared over the past few years, but what about the city’s homicides? If the availability of home-built guns was directly responsible for fueling violent crime, then we’d expect murders to be increasing at roughly the same rate as ‘ghost gun’ seizures, right? That’s not what’s happening.
Homicides in Baltimore haven’t dipped below 300 per year since 2014, which means that the city’s murder spike started long before unserialized firearms started showing up in greater numbers. In fact, from 2014 to 2015 the homicide count in Baltimore ballooned from 211 to 344; not because Maryland relaxed its gun laws in any way (quite the opposite, actually, given that the state’s Firearm Safety Act was approved in 2013) but because of the Freddie Gray riots and the lingering aftermath that impacted everything from police to the courts to the city’s political circles.
Even as the number of unserialized firearms seized by police have grown, the homicide rate in Baltimore has remained largely static, with a high of 348 homicides reported in 2019 and a slight decline to 335 in 2020 and 337 in 2021. Baltimore police may be finding more unserialized firearms, but that’s not what’s to blame for the city’s inability or unwillingness to curb violent crime.
Sane Americans know gun control has nothing to do with reducing crime. The same people who want to defund or abolish the police, who end bail, who want to abolish prisons, and who support Soros prosecutors who won’t prosecute are also anti-liberty/gun cracktivists. If they truly wanted to reduce crime, all they’d need to do is punish criminals. And by the way, it’s entirely legal to build your own gun. Gun building has been a necessity and tradition on this continent long before America was America. Let’s visit Legal Insurrection for additional details:
A ghost gun is privately made and does not have serial numbers making it untraceable. The DOJ asked the Federal Register to implement the ‘Frame or Receiver’ Final Rule, which would change the definition of a firearm and include the ghost gun:
‘Today, the Department of Justice announced that it has submitted to the Federal Register the ‘Frame or Receiver’ Final Rule, which modernizes the definition of a firearm. Once implemented, this rule will clarify that parts kits that are readily convertible to firearms are subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms. These regulatory updates will help curb the proliferation of ‘ghost guns,’ which are often assembled from kits, do not contain serial numbers, and are sold without background checks, making them difficult to trace and easy to acquire by criminals.’
Take the link to see some of the particulars of the new rules. Let’s keep in mind one thing: criminals are lazy and usually, not too smart. They’re not “do it yourself” types, and get their guns almost exclusively through illegal means. The Truth About Guns reveals the government lied about its “evidence” for the scourge of ghost guns:
The entire ‘ghost gun’ drama was started by Carlos A. Canino, the former Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division. In 2020, anti-gun activists asked Canino about the prevalence of homemade firearms in California. An earlier study said 30% of the guns recovered by ATF in California were unserialized ‘ghost guns,’ but Canino said the real numbers were actually much higher. ‘Forty-one percent, so almost half our cases we’re coming across are these ‘ghost guns,’ Canino said. That was all it took.
Wow! Can that possibly be true? An increase that large in just a few years? No; it can’t:
A story by the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project published last week showed that the ATF cannot verify Canino’s comments.
‘I contacted the Los Angeles Field Division earlier today after your initial email, and their Public Information Officer was unable to verify any figures provided in 2019 by former-SAC Canino without knowing the time-period(s) he used for his comments,’ an ATF spokesman said in the email.
After the story was published, a staff member for a U.S. Congressman came forward. This whistleblower, who asked that their name be withheld from publication, revealed even more problems about the ATF’s ‘ghost gun’ statistics.
The staff member asked the U.S. Justice Department for ‘ghost gun’ data, since both the ATF and the Bureau of Justice Statistics fall under the DOJ’s purview.
‘Because it is not currently a federal crime to own either a homemade firearm or a braced pistol, DOJ claims they do not have accurate/comprehensive databases to track their use in crimes. They compile information from state and local police units – but that information is only as good as what is reported,’ the whistleblower said in an email.
In other words, the ATF and DOJ have no reliable, credible evidence “ghost guns” are in any way a factor in crime, which seems like weak justification for federal law, or bureaucratic work arounds. Return with me now, gentle readers, to those thrilling days of yesteryear when I played cops and robbers.
Investigating burglaries, I would frequently have to spread a bit of fingerprint powder around vehicles or homes to satisfy victims who had seen too many cop dramas. I spent time and money on powder and lifters, virtually never finding anything but smudges, and the few readable prints I found never figured in solving a crime. Fingerprints, particularly readable prints, don’t readily adhere to a wide variety of surfaces. Smarter crooks wear gloves.
Where crimes committed with guns were concerned, never did I investigate a crime where a gun was left behind by a criminal. I know of a very few cases where that happened, but those were usually crimes committed by family members in their homes who left the gun where it usually rested—in the home. Never, in my experience, was a crime solved by tracing a serial number, nor do I know of a single such case.
Here’s why: let’s say a murder has happened during a carjacking, and rather than throw the gun in a river, a particularly stupid criminal has left it behind. A diligent police officer runs the serial number through the FBI’s NCIC computer database, and it turns out the gun was stolen three states away four years ago. And that’s the end of that line of inquiry; a dead end as far as identifying the killer.
But let’s take this as far as we can. The officer forwards the serial number to the ATF, who gets in touch with the manufacturer, who eventually tells them it was sold to Bob’s Wholesale Firearms eight years ago. The ATF gets in touch with Bob’s, and after a search, they’re able to report it was sold to Joe’s Guns, a retailer five states away from the scene of the crime. The ATF gets in touch with Joe’s, who, after several weeks of searching, reports it was sold to Mr. John Smith seven years ago.
Aha! Now we’ve got him! The officer takes over and finds Smith moved two states away two years ago and left no forwarding address. To make a long story short, it takes the officer several more weeks to finally locate Smith, who confirms he bought the gun, but gave it to his brother-in-law, who sold it to a pawn shop, and the guy who bought it from the pawn shop gave a false name. Another dead end.
OK, let’s make it nice and clean. The trail ends with John Smith who bought the gun, and as far as he knows, still has it. We got him, right? Wrong. In order to convict John, we still have to place him at the scene of the carjacking and put the gun in his hand. Absent that, we know nothing other than that John bought the gun seven years ago, and it somehow turned up at a carjacking many states away years later. It’s the whole “due process” and “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” thing.
Do you, gentle readers, begin to see of how little use firearm serial numbers actually are? There is little practical difference between a gun with or without a serial number. If the police can find the “ghost gun” in the possession of a criminal not long after the crime, they can do a ballistic comparison, and also compare casings for firing pin and extractor marks, and possibly, determine it was the gun used in the crime, but only if there are readable bullets recovered in the first place. A serial number might–might—sort of provide more of a link between a person and a gun, but only if a gun is somehow found, and the necessity of placing the person at the place and time of the crime and the gun in their hand remains.
Once upon a time, my law enforcement agency investigated a series of armed robberies by a crook using a sawed off rifle. In the process of committing one of the robberies, he knocked a distinctive chip off the stock of the rifle, which a sharp street cop found and put into evidence. A lot of old-fashioned, talking with people, police work later, the crook and the rifle were found, and the chip fit perfectly, sealing the conviction. A serial number was meaningless in that case, just as it is in virtually all others.
Final Thoughts: “Ghost guns” are no more a crime problem now than they were 10 years ago before anti-liberty/gun cractivists hit on a new scare word and disarmament tactic. What’s different now? D/S/Cs are desperate to find something, anything, to distract from their horrible record prior to the 2022 midterm elections. The perennial favorite–“gun violence”–is just about all used up; they desperately need something new. After demoralizing our police, causing many to abandon the profession entirely, and after turning our major cities—all D/S/C ruled—into third world war zones, they’re trying to claim they’re all about crime suppression and protecting the little people, thus, they’re going to protect them from the scourge of “ghost guns,” which obviously commit equally ghostly crimes.
Postscript: The federal government is big on anti-liberty/gun laws, but very poor at enforcing them. The armed robber with the chipped stock illegally possessed a short-barreled rifle. The case was given to the ATF, and would have been a slam-dunk conviction. It never happened. While playing detective, I occasionally ran across straw purchases of guns, got confessions, recovered the guns, and sent the cases on a silver platter to the government. Not a single crook was ever prosecuted.
The only reasonable conclusion is they have no real interest in prosecuting actual criminals for violation of federal gun laws. They are, however interested in prosecuting the law-abiding, and very interested in disarming them.