The state of New York has an awful lot on its plate. It’s pretty much the epicenter for the COVID-19 outbreak at the moment with New York City having the lion’s share of infected in the nation. Yet it seems, at least for the attorney general, that the novel coronavirus that has sparked a shutdown of the world’s economy isn’t the real threat out there.
Oh, no, that comes from “ghost guns” and the fact that some people might totally make a gun without the government’s permission or something.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, as part of a multistate coalition of 25 attorneys general from around the nation, has called on the Trump Administration to enforce federal laws and stop companies from disseminating dangerous files for 3D-printed gun files on the internet. In a letter to Secretary Michael Pompeo of the U.S. Department of State and United States Attorney General William Barr of the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General James and the coalition called on the federal government to stop the company Defense Distributed from unlawfully releasing easily downloadable files with specifications for particular guns — including the “Liberator” pistol and a number of other weapons — which would then give individuals the ability to manufacture unregistered and untraceable 3D-printed firearms that can be extremely difficult to detect, even with a metal detector. Untraceable firearms are sometimes called “ghost guns” because they lack a serial number or other identifying features.
“At a time when first responders are overrun with calls related to COVID-19, companies should be working to limit the dangers Americans face, not increasing them by publishing files that will make it easier for criminals to get guns and for anyone to print unregistered, untraceable, and, in many cases, undetectable firearms,” said Attorney General James. “Defense Distributed is attempting to take advantage of a national pandemic and is hoping states will not notice its unlawful distribution of files it knows it is barred from disseminating. We’re calling on the Trump Administration to take immediate action against Defense Distributed because ghost guns endanger every single one of us and the printing of them will only threaten to take law enforcement away from what should be their priority right now — taking care of coronavirus patients.”
And yet, despite these claims, violent crime is down in most of the nation. Not Chicago, apparently, but in most places it is.
If more guns mean more crime and Defense Distributed is somehow illegally providing files to people, then that should mean more crime, right? That’s not the case. That’s not the case at all.
And, frankly, 3D-printed guns–the term “ghost gun” simply refers to firearms without a serial number and isn’t exclusively about 3D-printed weapons–don’t represent the risk James is claiming. In fact, we see remarkably few such weapons used in crime. Why? Because the technology is still fairly expensive and the weapons designed for the technology are bad choices for carrying concealed.
James is doing nothing more than trying to use COVID-19 as political leverage.
Meanwhile, those files are already all over the internet. Even if Defense Distributed ceased to exist as of today, that horse has left the barn. The era of gun control is over. People like James need to deal with it and move on, perhaps by focusing their efforts on preventing people from becoming criminals in the first place. I know, it’s a novel suggestion, but it might be worth a try.
Or, conversely, she can shut up about this kind of thing when her state is a viral hotbed that’s also released an untold number of violent criminals into the population.
It seems like the only one endangering the people of New York right now is the government of New York.