"Ghost gun" bill passes Maryland legislature

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

So-called ghost guns have been held up as the latest scourge plaguing our great nation. A number of states have taken steps to restrict homemade firearms to some degree or another. They believe that by doing so, they’ll somehow make their states safer.

And now the Maryland legislature has decided to join their ranks.

Under SB 387 or the Untraceable Firearms Bill, any gun made after Oct. 22, 1968 must have a serial number etched in it.

“These untraceable firearms have become the weapon of choice for criminals,” Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said. “They are easily purchased over the internet without a background check, making them easily accessible to children, violent felons, domestic abusers, and others who are ineligible to own a firearm.”

The bill also covers guns that are inherited or bought as parts or kits on the Internet. The ghost guns don’t normally have serial numbers and are deemed untraceable.

So, basically, you can build your own “ghost gun,” slap a serial number on it, and you’re covered so far as the state of Maryland is concerned?

Wow.

Honestly, there’s a lot of panic over these kinds of weapons, but as I noted in a post on Tuesday, the numbers don’t really support the hysteria. It seems that so-called ghost guns have been used in 0.36 percent of homicides between 2016 and 2021. That’s such a small percentage that it seems reckless to pursue legislation seeking to restrict such a minor problem.

Of course, I tend to feel that way about any gun control, but this is especially egregious.

The vast majority of criminals have found ways to skirt existing gun laws as things currently stand. They’ve been doing it for decades and there’s no reason to believe that a restriction on unserialized firearms would possibly make even a dent in the violent crime rate in Maryland.

But then again, such regulations are more about making people feel something is being done without lawmakers having to figure out how to actually address the surging violence we’ve seen over the past couple of years.

With the help of a complicit media, they build up the hype over so-called ghost guns and create something like a moral panic over them. Everyone is convinced that all the bad guys everywhere are flocking to get incomplete firearm kits and finish them out–all while ignoring the prevalence of traditionally manufactured guns already in circulation on the black market–and then lawmakers step in.

They step in and offer a “solution.” They’re going to restrict those kinds of guns and make the problem go away.

Yet, it won’t.

Then they’ll blame other states for not enacting similar legislation without ever acknowledging what a small percentage of homicides these homemade weapons actually account for.

I mean, there have only been 325 murders tied to so-called ghost guns since 2016. We had more than five times as many murders with knives in 2020 alone.

This is a law meant to make people feel better, not actually make them safer. Then again, that’s what most gun control legislation really amounts to.