Among anti-gunners, one of the more terrifying threats out there has to be so-called ghost guns. These firearms are the ones people build at home, which means they don’t pass through a licensed dealer. Anyone can build them, and that’s a problem for these folks.
You see, because anyone can build them, it means some bad people might build them.
To be fair, we’ve seen a couple of instances of these firearms being built then misused in mass shootings. The Odessa rampage shooting in August of 2019 is perhaps the most famous example. It wasn’t the only example, though.
However, it’s also not exactly common, either.
For the state of New York, though, it doesn’t seem like that matters.
Two bills to crack down on the sale of untraceable firearms, known as “ghost guns,” has passed the New York State Senate, and are now sitting in committees in the New York State Assembly.
One, introduced by Sen. Anna Kaplan, a Democrat from Great Neck, would criminalize the sale of partially-finished firearm receivers that can be used to build unregistered firearms, and the other, introduced by Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Democrat from Manhattan, requires gunsmiths to register and serialize their firearms — or the frames and components used to make them — and prohibits anyone who is not a licensed gunsmith from manufacturing and assembling a firearm.
Under current law, unfinished, or partially-finished receivers are not considered firearms, and therefore do not have to be registered.
“The ‘unfinished receiver loophole’ in our gun laws allows too many dangerous ghost guns into our community every year,” Kaplan, who represents parts of Elmont andFranklin Square, said in a statement, “and with the rise of extremism across the country driving huge demand for these untraceable weapons, we must take action to close it right away.”
ProPublica recently reported that the Boogaloo Boys, a right-wing militia group that was involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, have embraced ghost guns as one of their preferred weapons, and just earlier this month, a36-year-old Saratoga County man pleaded guilty to firearm charges after admitting that he conspired to build and sell ghost guns.
I was going to say, “The problem with this is…” but I can’t. That’s because there are just too many problems.
Perhaps the biggest is that neither of these laws will stop anything.
You see, these receivers are legal in other states, which means all someone has to do is get it shipped to an address in another state, then build the damn things. While law-abiding citizens will stop building their own guns so they can comply with the new law, those aren’t the people that represent a problem in the first place.
Those who want these guns regardless will find a way around them.
Further, a case could be made that a block of aluminum is an unfinished receiver. After all, with sufficient tooling and knowledge, you can mill a receiver yourself. At what point do you draw the line as to what constitutes a receiver and what doesn’t?
At the end of the day, this is one of those times when lawmakers pass bills that anyone with any common sense knows won’t actually stop the bad actors from doing what they want to do, but they’ll pat themselves on the back nonetheless.
Then again, in this day and age, common sense is so rare it qualifies as a superpower.
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