Chicagoland sheriff and "ghost gun" bans

Chicagoland sheriff and "ghost gun" bans
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

So-called ghost guns – firearms that lack a serial number in some way – have become the major bugaboo for gun control groups. They’re demonized and ostracized in ways other firearms aren’t. And considering the way guns are treated in Chicago, that’s saying something.

Yet, the Cook County sheriff had opinions about how the state needed to pass a “ghost gun” ban.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on Thursday announced proposed legislation to ban ghost guns — homemade, untraceable firearms — which increasingly are being recovered on the county’s streets.

“We’re seeing an explosion,” Dart said at a news conference Oct. 14. “We’re seeing more and more.”

Ghost guns often are assembled from kits and are not marked with serial numbers like normal guns, making them harder to track. That means the gun parts can be purchased without a background check — a standard requirement for the purchase of a standard firearm from a federally licensed dealer.

The new legislation would ban the sale of ghost gun kits immediately and ban any privately assembled firearms unless they are registered with the state and marked with a serial number. The legislation also allows for a six-month grace period to let current ghost gun owners register them.

Once the loophole is closed, a first violation would be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by as much as a year in jail. Any subsequent offense would be a Class 3 felony, punishable by a prison sentence of two to five years.

The truth of the matter is that Illinois passed a ban on so-called ghost guns. Dart got precisely what he wanted.

However, what he’s not going to get is reduced crime in the Chicago area.

First, as we know, unserialized firearms were used in just 0.36 percent of all homicides between 2016 and 2021. That means that homemade firearms, commonly called ghost guns, aren’t the driver of violent crime, as many, such as Dart, argue.

Plus, let’s face it. It’s not like Chicago was an oasis of domestic tranquility before incomplete receivers were on the market. Criminals there had no issue obtaining firearms via black market transactions or through theft prior to the rise of “ghost guns.” They’ll have no trouble obtaining them afterward.

And that’s if you could actually ban them into oblivion. You can’t because 3D printers are a thing, and those lower receivers – the actual “gun” part of a gun – can be printed at home after spending just a few hundred dollars on Amazon.

Brilliantly done. They’ve passed the law and accomplished nothing.

Then again, this is Illinois. None of their other gun control measures accomplished anything, so why should this one be any different?

I expect to see that nothing will change, and officials in Chicago will blame the continued proliferation of guns on states that actually respect their citizens’ right to keep and bear arms for Chicago’s problems.

In other words, I really mean it when I say nothing will change.

“Ghost guns” aren’t the problem, folks. They never have been, despite media hysteria for the last couple of years. Chicago is about to find that out.