GOA explains what the left gets wrong on "ghost guns"

Kudos to both Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America for penning this column, as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer for actually running it. I think it’s so good I decided to use it as the basis for today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, especially since Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is calling for more gun control laws in the state after a Philadelphia felon was busted for allegedly building and selling guns out of his home.

As Pratt points out in his column, “ghost guns” are just one source of firearms for criminals, and the vast majority of guns recovered and traced to homicides have serial numbers on them. The idea that banning home-built, unserialized guns is a magic bullet (no pun intended) to stop cold-blooded killers is simply nonsense, and a distraction from the policies and practices that have been proven to be most effective at reducing violent crime.

According to the Department of Justice, privately made firearms were found at 692 homicide or attempted homicide crime scenes over a six-year period. That means that, at worst, out of more than 16,000 yearly murders, homemade guns are used in around 115 homicides per year. That’s far fewer murders than many common items which are easily found around one’s house — such as knives (1,476), hammers or blunt objects (397), or fists and feet (600).

So why isn’t the Biden Administration trying to regulate those objects?

The answer is that this president is not as interested in protecting public safety, as much as he wants to implement a radical gun control regime. The new ATF rule could incarcerate gun owners for committing non-violent, highly technical violations of complex and unconstitutional laws, while doing nothing about the rising number of crimes committed by real criminals.

This isn’t about crime reduction or increasing public safety, argues Pratt. Instead, the current focus on “ghost guns” is all about one thing: control of legal gun owners.

Serialization is not designed to stop criminals. It’s intended to register the law-abiding, which history shows is the first step toward confiscation. And if you don’t think confiscation could ever occur in this country, just recall Beto O’Rourke yelling: “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!”

The double-standards by the anti-gun left are breathtaking. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was at the Rose Garden ceremony, applauding the president’s restrictions on homemade firearms. Never mind that Shapiro’s office has been accused of illegally transferring a homemade gun to a television journalist preparing a story on the issue without conducting a background check; that would violate both state and federal law. The transfer was made to facilitate an NBC News report on a local supplier of P80 kits.

With the anti-gun left, we constantly see “rules for thee, but not for me.” The Biden administration openly admitted that he ordered this “ghost gun” regulation because he “was having trouble getting [gun control] passed in the Congress.” That is lawless and anti-constitutional behavior. The president is not a king who can issue decrees on a whim.

Which is why so many of Biden’s executive actions have been overturned, and also why we’re likely to see successful court challenges to any final rule that attempts to rewrite the Gun Control Act of 1968, which is a job for Congress and not the Justice Department or the ATF.

I would love to get Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner’s take on Pratt’s piece, given the prosecutor’s recent comments regarding home-built guns and the need for more gun laws. After a convicted felon named Daniel Whiteman was found in possession of several home-built guns made in part from a 3D printer (along with fentanyl, which is apparently even easier to get than firearms these days), Krasner said the case should shame Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg into action.

DA Krasner stated, “This frightening case is a clear-cut example of why we need our state legislature to modernize firearm safety laws that reflect the reality of 3D printing technology.”

Krasner added, “Our communities demand that state legislators in the thrall of the National Rifle Association wake up and start caring about public safety by passing commonsense gun regulation so that we can prevent the next Mr. Whiteman from producing and trafficking guns that jeopardize the lives of families and children”

So what “commonsense gun regulation” can be passed that would have actually stopped Whiteman from (allegedly) building his own guns at home? It was already illegal for Whiteman to do so based on his felony conviction, so what law could be put on the books to prevent him from breaking the law? A ban on 3D printer ownership by convicted felons? Good luck with defending that law in court. A ban on 3D-printed guns? Won’t stop anyone from making them, though it might provide a charge after the fact.

Technology has advanced to the point where a guy like Whiteman can pretty easily make guns he’s not allowed to possess. Whether you or I think that’s a great thing or a tragedy of epic proportions is completely irrelevant, because it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. And if we possess the right to both keep and bear arms, we must also possess the right to acquire them, and I don’t think the Supreme Court would look too kindly on an argument that gun owners must purchase their firearms from someone else rather than making their own if they choose.

As Pratt accurately pointed out, this whole push against “ghost guns” isn’t about violent crime. There are a dozen other strategies that Biden could pursue that would have an actual impact on crime, but instead he’s wasting the crumbs of his political capital trying to appease the gun control lobby, which spent tens of millions of dollars electing him, by enacting as much of their agenda as he can without any help from Congress.

Jun 25, 2022 12:30 PM ET