Philadelphia has always been known as something of a rough city. Then again, these are the same people who famously booed Santa Claus at an Eagles game, so calling them “rough” might be a bit of an understatement.
It’s unsurprising that city officials are trying to figure out how to deal with violence in their city.
However, it seems that officials are somewhat worried about so-called “ghost guns” without nearly that much of a reason.
The weapon of choice for a growing number of criminals has no serial number, can’t be traced to a manufacturer, and doesn’t require a background check for purchase. It is sold at gun shows and over the internet — not as a functioning gun, but in a kit of disassembled parts. Buyers use their own tools, including electric drills and sandpaper, to build a handgun or assault rifle.
It’s called a ghost gun, and such weapons have been seized by Philadelphia police 10 times this year already.
Wow. A whole 10 times in a city of nearly 1.6 million people.
Clearly, it’s an epidemic!
Meanwhile, as Cam noted in a post yesterday, Philly has bigger problems. In particular:
Due to the coronavirus crisis, Philadelphia police will no longer be making arrests for all narcotics offenses, theft from persons, retail theft, theft from auto, burglary, vandalism, bench warrants, stolen autos, economic crimes such as passing bad checks, fraud, & prostitution. pic.twitter.com/R2OZSPMKHO
— Rob O’Donnell (@odonnell_r) March 17, 2020
Ghost guns seem like the least of their problems. Especially since it looks like something of a non-issue.
After all, a whole 10 “ghost guns” in the first two and a half months may sound like a lot until you consider just how many other firearms were likely seized during this same time period. We’re talking orders of magnitude of a difference. Ghost guns don’t represent any real significant threat to the people of Philadelphia.
This is why most media outlets only make vague references to the supposedly growing threat posed by these weapons without giving us hard numbers to evaluate for ourselves. As it stands, we can see the size of the threat facing Philadelphia and it’s less than the threat COVID-19 is to my own hometown.
Honestly, 10 guns? Now, I’ll grant that it’s a short time span we’re looking at here, but this is Philadelphia. This is a major American city that’s the sixth-largest in the nation by population. I’m sorry, but if this is how “bad” the problem is there, I just can’t find myself becoming particularly alarmed.
Again, this is likely why so many reports lack hard numbers. We’ll be able to see that the risk isn’t there, that this move to erode our constitutionally-protected rights is motivated not by a real problem, but by the fear of anti-gun politicians and officials that if they don’t restrict those rights, we might actually be able to have guns without their permission.
That’s what all this is really about. Homebuilt firearms scare lawmakers not because the wrong people might get them–they’re able to get manufactured weapons easily enough, after all–but because it makes it impossible for them to require their permission before someone arms themselves.
It’s why cities are also trying to clamp down on gun sales during a pandemic. It’s not about the guns, but their desire to control everything.