More Media Fear Mongering Over 'Ghost Guns'

For ages now, people have been building firearms in their workshops. I built an AK more than a decade ago, and I know damn good and well I was far from the first to do so. This has been a thing for a long time, and it’s not likely to end anytime soon, either.

Frankly, guns are fun to build and then shoot, plus there’s a certain amount of pride one derives from looking at one they built, especially if they built the receiver.

Yet, the media has long jumped on the idea that these “ghost guns” were somehow a massive threat to the general public, and they’ll use any opportunity to present them as such. Take this story about a man named Kyle Dodge. Dodge was arrested for reportedly selling guns to meth dealers, as well as possession of meth itself.

As deputies spoke to Dodge, they spotted a handgun magazine in the driver’s side door. A search of the car turned up 22 handguns, shotguns, and what officials described as “AR-15 style rifles.” Deputies also seized 97 grams of methamphetamine from the trunk.

Back at Dodge’s house on Vega Drive in Goleta, detectives uncovered 70 more firearms and another 33 grams of meth.

While many of the weapons appear to have been lawfully purchased and owned by Dodge, a number were illegally modified. Detectives found four customized rifles, two short-barreled shotguns, multiple factory firearms with filed-off serial numbers, and illegal attachments, including a silencer, large capacity magazine, and sniper scope.

But perhaps most troubling to authorities was the discovery in Dodge’s house of four home-built “ghost guns” ― unregistered firearms that are almost impossible to trace and therefore favored by criminals. They lay near a drill press and box of parts dusted with metal shavings.

Now, he had 70 firearms, many of which were already illegal, but they latched onto the four ghost guns?

Seriously?

This is why I can’t take the ghost gun fear-mongering seriously. They latch onto the few homebuilt firearms as if they’re somehow more dangerous than regular firearms.

Of course, in the media’s defense, it’s not just them that’s pushing the fear.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod countered in his own filing to Judge Brian Hill that Dodge’s alleged crimes go far beyond his own “disturbing conduct” as “it appears clear that the defendant was facilitating and likely profiting from the criminal conduct of multiple other offenders.”

Weichbrod specifically pointed to the recent arrests of John Carothers in Lompoc on December 17, Jared Harwin in Isla Vista on December 18, and Curt Carpenter in Santa Barbara on January 19. In all three cases, the men were in possession of Polymer80 handguns, copious amounts of methamphetamine, scales, and baggies.

“The cases illustrated above are not merely circumstantial in that they all possessed the same type of manufactured firearm without serial numbers, but they each have direct ties to the defendant in this case,” said Weichbrod.

And?

Look, if Dodge is guilty of providing guns to meth dealers, then guess what? Those types of guns become irrelevant. Would it somehow be better if they’d been Glocks instead? Functionally, they’re no different than Polymer80s, but because they come with a serial number, they’re somehow safer?

And with the number of guns, some of which were illegal under California law, Dodge could have provided them with any number of weapons besides the Polymer80s.

The problem here isn’t the “ghost guns.” The problem is that we have criminals who want to obtain guns and people who are willing to provide them. It’s just that simple. If you somehow eliminate the customer base – criminals, in this case – then you eliminate all the associated problems with illegal firearms in the first place.

It’s time to focus on them directly rather than interfering with the thousands of other people who built Polymer80 handguns for their amusement and never intend to commit a single illegal act with them than the minute handful who do. But that’s not how politicians roll, unfortunately.

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Aug 03, 2021 4:30 PM ET