CBS partners with anti-gun media to tout ATF's new "ghost gun" rules

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

One of the biggest coups in the gun control movement over the past few years has taken place outside of the legislative arena. The anti-gun website The Trace, which was founded (and continues to be funded, at least in part) by Everytown for Gun Safety/Mayors Against Illegal Guns/former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg has ingratiated itself within the mainstream media and now routinely partners with outlets like USA Today and VICE News to put their pro-gun control spin on the news, even though these outlets would never consider working with a website or independent newsroom that takes a pro-Second Amendment position.

The latest pairing between The Trace and the mainstream media resulted in a new story about the rush to sell (and buy) 80% frames and receivers as well as DIY gun-making kits that may soon be subjected to new ATF rules. The new mandates covering unfinished frames and receivers are set to kick in on August 24th barring any injunction by the courts, and as you might imagine, lots of folks are interested in purchasing something the Biden administration doesn’t want them to have.

Online, many websites that sell ghost gun parts have posted countdowns to the date the rule takes effect and have posted information for enthusiasts who want to continue building firearms at home.

The sites include companies like 80-lower.com, which urges visitors to “grab your freedom while you can” and links to product listings of AR-15 receivers. A similar site, 80percentarms.com, promises to continue shipping ghost gun parts until the day the rule begins. Representatives from 80-lower.com and 80percentarms.com didn’t respond to CBS News’ request for comment.

The number of ghost guns in the U.S. has been on the rise in recent years. While there’s no data on how many ghost gun parts are sold, the number turning up at crime scenes in recent years has soared, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which regulates firearms.

In its latest report on the U.S. gun market, the ATF pointed to jumps in Google trends data in recent years that suggest increasing interest in ghost gun parts.

That data shows key searches related to specific ghost gun parts soared by more than 600 percent in the last decade.

The ATF report also said ghost guns are making it possible “to make a firearm at home without any records or a background check.”

It’s always been possible to build your own gun at home without any records or a background check. What has gun control activists so hot and bothered is that technology has advanced to the point that it’s now relatively easy to do so. But while the new ATF rules are designed to cut down on home-built guns, as one California gun owner (and builder) told CBS News, criminals aren’t going to follow this law, which means it’ll be legal gun owners like himself who’ll feel the impact.

Bob said he’s concerned the new rules will dissuade law-abiding citizens from making guns like he does. He also said he fears criminals simply won’t comply, but rather continue to make unserialized guns illegally.

“The laws are going to discourage a lot of people like me who like to make sure everything is above board,” he said. “They’re going to be discouraging people from going out and participating in this hobby.”

I’d say that’s one of the goals and not an unintended consequence of the new rules.

The ATF officials that CBS News spoke to were obviously much more enthusiastic about the new rules, proclaiming that they’ll have an impact on violent crime despite the fact that, according to the news network, home-built guns made up just 3% of the firearms recovered by police. Criminals aren’t going to be thwarted by these new rules because most of them aren’t building their own guns to begin with. They’re getting them through theft, the black market, or through family or friends straw purchasing one (or more) for them. Even if they want to build a “ghost gun” they can do so with the use of a 3D printer or a CNC machine without running afoul of the ATF’s new rules, though my guess is that the gun control lobby will start demanding more restrictions to close “loopholes” just as soon as the new rules on frames and receivers take effect… and they’ll find plenty of allies in the mainstream media to amplify their latest anti-2A crusade.