All over the nation, numerous people take part in kind of an interesting hobby. They build firearms from the ground up using receivers that are only partially built receivers. They finish the receiver then add parts until they have a weapon built to their specifications. That was how I got my first AK-pattern rifle, as a matter of fact. There’s something cool about knowing that you built a gun.
Yet Action News (never heard that name before) in Philadelphia sees this hobby as a problem.
Anyone with a few hundred bucks can buy what’s called a ‘Ghost Gun’ online. Within four hours, we built a semi-automatic firearm in the Action News Investigation office.
And law enforcement now tell Action News these same guns are ending up in the hands of criminals on Philadelphia’s streets.
AK-47s, AR-15s, complete do-it-yourself kits for almost any kind of assault rifle or pistol, are peddled online, to anyone. No ID, background check, date of birth or any identifying information required.
It cost Action News just $600, and five days later our nearly complete weapon arrived at our door.
With the help of complete how-to instructions posted online and an Action News engineer, we drilled out the trigger chamber, called an 80 percent lower, and built a fully functional firearm.
Yes, that’s how those work. Now, I get that these may well be turning up in criminals’ hands, but how many?
The reporter spoke with Alexander Roubian, President of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.
“There’s never been an epidemic with criminals going and building their own firearms,” said Roubian. “If criminals want to acquire firearms as they do now, they find ways of doing it.”
Yes, they will. For example, the knowledge of how to build a submachinegun with common tools and materials is pretty common and has been around for decades now. These, too, have been uncovered in criminal investigations.
Over in Nigeria, where tooling is a bit harder to come by than in the United States, the military recently confiscated a homemade revolver-shotgun kind of abomination.
And that doesn’t even touch on the people who are able to build an AK-47 receiver with scrap metal.
Let’s also not forget 3D printing.
So-called “ghost guns” are going to be with us always. Kvetching over regular guys building guns in their backyards for their own enjoyment, however, won’t make a dent in the problem. After all, it’s already illegal for anyone to manufacture a gun if they can’t lawfully own a gun.
All the other parts of a firearm aren’t considered a firearm. They’re not restricted in any way by the BATFE, which is why you can order a parts kit minus a receiver. It’s not a gun in their eyes.
The fact is, criminals who want a gun badly enough to go through all this trouble are also likely to build a gun through some other means. The only people who would be impacted by new laws, however, wouldn’t be the people you need to disarm.
That’s what the reporters behind these scare stories always seem to miss.