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Rise In "Ghost Guns" Shows Failure Of Laws Restricting Them

MikeGunner / Pixabay

President Joe Biden came out when he spoke of his executive action on guns and explicitly came out and said he wanted to heavily restrict so-called ghost guns. He tasked the ATF with rejiggering the rules surrounding incomplete lower receivers to try and put an end to the availability of such things.

However, will that make much of a difference?

Probably not. After all, a recent report from San Diego may have some ramifications on this debate.

Last week a downtown San Diego shooting killed one person and wounded four. Now the San Diego Police Department is sounding the alarm about the increase of ghost guns — homemade, unserialized guns — it is seeing on the streets.

SDPD said a ghost gun was used in last Thursday’s fatal shooting.

Ghost guns are easy to get and they’re practically untraceable. Legal loopholes in some states, including Nevada, allow gun makers to sell them without serial numbers. San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said San Diego County had seen a 169% rise in ghost guns.

As of April 1, a total of 492 guns have been impounded by San Diego police. Of those, 111 have been ghost guns.

Now, I have to applaud San Diego for releasing actual numbers. Usually we simply hear the problem is growing but don’t get any actual numbers to consider.

However, they saw a 169 percent rise in these weapons and they still account for less than 25 percent of the total number of weapons seized. Maybe it’s just me, but that big of a spike tells me that for all the fearmongering in recent years, this is the first time the total number of weapons really even looks like a lot.

And is this going to be the new standard? I mean, it looks like we’re talking about a few dozen guns before this year, despite the availability of these firearms. Clearly, something changed.

What didn’t change, though, is California’s gun laws, which already restrict this kind of thing. That’s a point a local gun rights advocate wanted to point out.

Local gun advocate and executive director of San Diego County Gun Owners, Michael Schwartz, said adding more restrictive laws won’t solve the problem at hand.

“The executive order; what he’s hoping to do is create laws regarding home manufacturing firearms that mirror California laws to spread them to the other 49 states,” he said. “But again, what Chief Nisleit is showing is that these laws that already exist in California aren’t making a difference.”

In California it is illegal to have a ghost gun or manufactured gun that has not been registered with the Department of Justice.

The DOJ requires self-made firearms to have a unique serial number, but many aren’t complying with the law.

“We really need to do things like stop and prevent individuals from committing crimes instead of chipping away and making metal illegal, which is in effect what they are trying to do,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz is right about how this illustrates the failure of the “ghost gun” control efforts.

Even if you say these lowers need to be serialized, there are other options out there that you can’t enforce such a rule on. With 3D printers able to crank out similar receivers, the hopes of preventing this kind of thing are long over. It’s simply not going to happen.

And Biden wants these rules everywhere.

Yet again, though, it’ll show that Democrats simply don’t understand the issues at play here. The problem isn’t that people can build guns without permission. The problem is and has always been that criminals do bad things and need to be stopped, preferably before they actually commit crimes.

That’s what none of these laws–any gun control laws, really–ever do. It’s what anti-gun politicians never seem to want to do.

Then again, that might come suspiciously close to work. Can’t have that, now can we?

Jul 27, 2021 12:30 PM ET