The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, also known as the ATF, is not exactly a favorite agency to gun owners. Of course, there’s a lot of reasons why, and not just because they’re in charge of enforcing gun control laws. It’s because they’ve been caught doing some pretty hinky stuff through the years and none of us appreciate it.
Their latest escapade may well be in trying to gin up hysteria regarding so-called “ghost guns,” or homemade firearms that are perfectly legal for law-abiding gun owners to build and use. However, these guns ultimately exist outside the ATF’s control, which makes them a problem.
Yet for months, we’ve heard over and over that these weapons were a major problem.
Over those same months, I’ve been questioning just how big the threat actually was. After all, without numbers from which we can judge things for ourselves, it’s hard to tell what they mean when they say “growing threat” or something similar. I mean, just one of these guns showing up at a crime scene last year but finding two and scenes this year is a 100 percent increase, but it doesn’t really constitute a crisis.
On Thursday, though, we got a glimpse at this “crisis”.
From what we saw, it’s not. Even the ATF’s numbers aren’t that alarming when you consider the areas involved. And yet, there’s reason to believe the ATF is behind the rhetoric.
As gun demand hits record levels due to COVID-19, demand is also increasing for a new type of gun you build at home. It is untraceable with no serial number, no background check and no waiting period.
They are called ghost guns. Please note that a gun is no longer a ghost gun when a serial number is engraved in the gun. The number makes the gun traceable.
A ghost gun cannot legally be sold without the seller serializing the gun.
As part of WAVY’s investigation, we called local police. They don’t see a growing trend with ghost guns, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is seeing them pop up at crime scenes.
Here in Virginia, local police contacted by WAVY have no knowledge of any ghost gun trends.
In other words, while local law enforcement is seeing no such trends, the ATF is still screaming until they’re blue in the face about this supposedly growing threat.
Yet, as we saw in the above-linked Bearing Arms story, that threat is minuscule at most. In the entire midwest, which includes Chicago and St. Lous–two of the more violent cities in our nation–the bureau reports finding just such 50 weapons throughout the entire region.
In other words, they’re spinning this idea that ghost guns represent a threat simply because they can’t control them. They have no oversight, no power over such weapons and the ATF doesn’t like it when they can’t control firearms to any degree.
Of course, that’s just speculation on my part. So is the speculation that the ATF may actually be reaching out to media outlets in hopes of getting them to run these stories. After all, if enough people get terrified of “ghost guns” from every direction, they’ll start demanding federal legislation ending the practice.
After all, why else would a TV station in a community that doesn’t seem to have any kind of ghost gun problem suddenly decide to do a report on the topic? Even if they’re not reaching out, though, why not admit that there’s not an issue in their neck of the woods but provide hard numbers as to why it’s a problem elsewhere?
Then again, maybe I need to tighten the tinfoil hat a bit.
Regardless, the ATF once again failed to provide any real numbers of this supposed threat as it applies to the area in question. Then again, based on what we saw in the Omaha story from Thursday, it’s probably not in their best interests to share those numbers. After all, they don’t want to be laughed at.