California Lawsuit Seeks To Force Feds To Crack Down On "Ghost Guns"

California loves them some gun control. It doesn’t actually work, of course, but they love it none the less. Then again, this is a state where their governor has decided to ban gasoline-powered cars, despite the impact that will have on poor people in many parts of the state that lack a large public transit system. They seem to like authoritarianism there.


And honestly, while it’s a topic of debate, it doesn’t bother me all that much. After all, I don’t live there so their nonsense doesn’t impact me.

Now, though, a new lawsuit out of the state may well impact the rest of us and our gun rights.

Fed up with the growing number of untraceable homemade firearms used in gun crimes and mass shootings, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a federal lawsuit Tuesday to force the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to crack down on so-called “ghost guns” that skirt laws requiring background checks and age verification.

Lacking a commercial serial number and purchasable without a background check, “ghost guns” are not considered firearms subject to ATF regulation under the Gun Control Act because a central piece remains unfinished — the receiver or frame of the weapon, which houses all of its internal components including the barrel and trigger mechanism.

Becerra disputes this interpretation. His lawsuit notes the Gun Control Act expressly provides that a receiver or frame can be considered a firearm because such pieces are “designed to or may readily be converted” into functional weapons.

“We are suing the ATF over its interpretation what qualifies as a firearm,” Becerra said on a call with reporters Tuesday. “ATF allows these guns to go unchecked despite having the authority under the Gun Control Act to regulate them.”


These are less than 80 percent complete receivers. That last 20 percent hardly qualifies as “readily be converted,” as anyone who has built such a firearm knows.

However, Becerra doesn’t actually care about that. He simply doesn’t want people to be able to build their own firearms for any reason.

It should be noted that building these weapons is actually legal in his own state, though there are regulations surrounding their manufacture. If they’re legal in California, why is he trying to shut it down for the rest of the country? Probably because he’s bucking for higher office and this is how he can show he’s tough on guns.

Becerra isn’t alone on this, though.

He was joined by Bryan Muehlberger, whose daughter Gracie Anne Muehlberger was shot and killed at Saugus High school in Santa Clarita, California, by a fellow student with a “ghost gun” assembled from an online kit.

“Until that tragic day, I had never even heard of a ghost gun,” Muehlberger said. “We all need to wake up and understand the danger here. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can buy these totally unregulated kits with just an internet connection and a credit card. And that’s how my daughter’s killer got his murder weapon. I still struggle to understand why it can be so easy to order a kit online that has no intended purpose other than creating a fully functioning firearm and how the ATF can allow ghost guns to be sold with no federal regulation.”


I sympathize with Muehlberger for his loss. I honestly don’t know how I’d be able to function if anything happened to my daughter.

However, Muehlberger seems to have some unrealistic expectations anyway.

Muehlberger, who is not opposed to firearms and owns guns himself, said that only a few months ago he bought a ghost gun kit online using his daughter’s name.

“Sure enough, the company mailed out the kit with Gracie’s name emblazoned on the box. Had the company done any investigation — just Googling her name — they would have learned that not only was Gracie barely 15 and no longer with us, but that she was also killed by a ghost gun,” he said. “It’s that easy for anyone, including children, those with mental illness or past issues with violence, and those that are not legally allowed to own guns, including a dead girl, to circumvent our laws and get a gun.”

First, a Google search isn’t a background check. While it may tell you someone with that name was murdered, it doesn’t mean that someone else with that name isn’t a lawful customer. Names aren’t that unique. In fact, if you search my name, you find me, a soccer player in the U.K., and a customer service expert. None of us are the same people, after all.

Narrow it down with my hometown and you get me and my father.

So no, they didn’t Google the customer’s name. Googling someone’s name doesn’t tell them jack squat, so they acted accordingly.


Muehlberger’s anecdote doesn’t actually tell us anything except that he has some rather unreasonable expectations from these companies. Then again, so does Becerra, but that’s nothing new.

The truth of the matter is that you will never stop people from making their own guns. The ATF drew the line at 80 percent complete makes it a receiver. A full one-fifth of the receiver must be incomplete for it not to count. Yes, it’s an arbitrary number, but guess what? If they change it to anything else, someone will start selling incomplete receivers that match the new criteria.

Bad people will still build their own guns if they want, though those are actually pretty rare despite hysterical media reports to the contrary.

Frankly, though, the bigger problem is how California believes it can dictate law to the rest of the nation. Then again, California anti-gunners tend to believe they’re better than the rest of us, anyway.

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