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Ghost Gun Arrest Story Shows How Minor The Issue Is

(Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

Think about your local newspaper or television news show. Now, ask yourself just how often do you see reports of normal car accidents, the kind you see every day but where no one gets hurt? You probably don’t. They’re common enough that they’re just not news. That may change if the accident results in a fatality or serious injury.

See, when something happens all the time, it’s not really news. When it’s rare, it is. It’s like the old saying about how dog bites man isn’t a news story, but man bites dog?

That’s something to keep in mind when you’re looking at this story from the Chicago Tribune.

A woman was arrested this week downtown allegedly carrying what police have termed a “ghost gun,” one of the most recent appearances of such weapons that are untraceable for law enforcement.
The guns are often assembled from kits sold without buyers needing to go through background checks — a standard requirement for buyers when purchasing regular guns from a federally licensed firearms dealer. The loophole makes ghost guns easier for criminals to acquire when they otherwise would not be allowed to own a firearm.
Ajade Walker, 22, was arrested with a fully loaded 9 mm ghost gun at about 3:40 p.m. Monday in the River North neighborhood following a struggle with officers, according to Chicago police. Police said she was also found with another gun that had defaced serial numbers, making it more difficult for law enforcement to trace.
Chicago police confiscate thousands of firearms off the street each year, and the number of ghost guns typically has been a small percentage of those seizures. But the number has been on the rise compared to past years, authorities said, particularly in 2021.
A law enforcement source with knowledge of the department’s efforts said about 140 ghost guns have been confiscated this year by Chicago police.

Now, let’s remember that Chicago is a city of almost 8.9 million people. A total of 140 so-called ghost guns just isn’t really an alarming amount. The fact that the story is focused initially on Walker’s arrest tells us this is pretty rare. The fact that only 140 of these weapons have been recovered is actually kind of remarkable.

I mean, look at Chicago’s violent crime rate as a whole. In 2020, the Windy City saw 774 homicides. Even if every one of the recovered weapons was used in a homicide, it’s still a fairly small percentage.

The thing is, though, they’re found associated with any number of lesser crimes. Sometimes the only crime associated with the firearm is a weapons possession charge.

And this is Chicago. This is a city where people apparently buy and steal guns from all over the nation, just to bring them to Chicago to sell on the black market. If there are so few of these weapons there then maybe the problem isn’t nearly as significant as some anti-gunners claim.

Yet even if it was, new laws wouldn’t make a difference. It’s already illegal to produce a non-serialized firearm for sale. It’s also illegal to sell a firearm to someone you have reason to believe isn’t eligible to own a firearm. These people are already violating the law. What good with still another law do besides give them another line item on their criminal resume?

And don’t try to claim that banning ghost guns would get rid of the kits which would get rid of the ghost guns. We live in the era of the 3D printer. People don’t need kits to build firearms.

Luckily, it doesn’t matter. As we can see from this, it’s just not as big of an issue as anti-gunners claim, even if one of those anti-gunners resides at the White House.

Jul 31, 2021 8:30 AM ET