"Ghost guns" no more popular with crooks than other guns

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

In this job, I read a lot of scare-mongering about so-called ghost guns. Homemade firearms that millions of people build each year and then use for lawful purposes are continually demonized because a small handful of criminals also get hold of such weapons.

Time and time again, we tend to find that this particular type of gun isn’t really the dominant firearm on the street.

But, the media will try to pretend otherwise with headlines like, “‘Ghost guns’ popular with criminals on coasts, used in Lenexa murder-suicide.”

 Law enforcement officials say that a “ghost gun” used in a Lenexa murder-suicide over the weekend may be the first in a high profile case in the Kansas City area.

Besides discovering three people shot inside a Lenexa house Sunday morning, a search warrant shows officers found several guns and a knife associated with the suspect, Dustin Johnson, who killed himself at the scene.

Police note Johnson’s assault rifle had no serial numbers and was made using various parts. It’s what law enforcement call a “ghost gun.”

“And that gun doesn’t have to have the required markings that a gun that we walk into a gun store and purchase has to have,” John Ham, public information officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Kansas City, said.

It’s an alternative for those who can’t legally purchase a firearm.

The problem is that for criminals, any gun is popular and while the ATF and the media have been agitating for some time, claiming that these are some deadly new problem on our streets, the actual numbers we keep seeing–when we eventually find some context for it–doesn’t illustrate the problem is nearly as bad as the ATF claims.

Of course, the ATF dislikes any firearm that circumvents their authority in some manner. They want these weapons regulated so they can have control over them. That means they can push for a bigger budget and can find new ways to jam up gun owners and dealers.

Frankly, everything they say should be considered suspect.

But the ATF isn’t the only law enforcement agency making these claims. It’s common in gun control bastions for law enforcement to also play up the issue.

Yet, again, when they bother to give any numbers and context for those numbers, we find that the problem is overstated.

Look, bad guys want guns. If homemade firearms went away forever, they’d still get guns. It’s not like there was a dearth of black market firearms for bad guys to buy before homemade firearms became a thing, so why focus there.

Again, because the manufacture of these guns doesn’t fall under anything law enforcement can do, so that bothers them completely.

That’s a selling point if you ask me.

The Second Amendment is a bulwark against tyranny. What better reinforcement for that bulwark can there be other than guns that you don’t have to ask the government for permission to own? No wonder the ATF hates them so much.