NY "ghost gun" manufacturing operation raises questions

NY "ghost gun" manufacturing operation raises questions
(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

So-called ghost guns, more properly termed as unserialized firearms, are a big thing these days. We’ve seen scaremongering aplenty about this supposedly growing surge of such weapons on our streets.

Of course, the actual numbers show that these account for a tiny percentage of the overall total, but sure, let’s direct all of our attention there instead of on the people using these guns.

In New York, “ghost guns” are a big no-no.

Unfortunately, one man was just arrested for an alleged manufacturing operation.

When sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in a rural suburb of Onondaga County in the middle of the night July 16, they were expecting a domestic dispute.

What they found was a one-man gun making operation that likely has been supplying illegal weapons to people in the city of Syracuse, said Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway.

“We wanted to actually show you what it is that’s being produced right here in our community by people,” Conway said. “And that is probably the tip of the iceberg.”

He stood before a table full of half-made plastic guns and a 3-D printer. A plastic crafting container held springs sorted by size into pink cups. The five fully-made guns police recovered at the home Daniel Seils, 37, was sharing with his girlfriend, are at the crime lab, Conway said.

Conway and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick called the press conference to talk about the arrest and show what was recovered to draw greater attention to “ghost guns.” The guns are illegally manufactured quietly, a few at at time, in basements and garages. Then they are sold on the black market.

Seils had a 3-D printer that he was using to make the lower part of the gun. He was using barrels he bought online to complete them, Conway said. He had also used parts he made on his 3-D printer to fix and retrofit existing guns, deputies said. There was a machine-gun drum made entirely from a 3-D printer.

And that is when I knew for a fact that someone talking to the media was a complete and total moron.

A “drum” is a magazine. It goes in certain types of guns. Yet I can’t think of any that go specifically in a machine gun. So, basically, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Onondaga County is having a real problem with unserialized firearms, one that far surpasses the rest of the nation, so that there’s a reason to make this a huge deal.

Conway said that since 2016, 128 ghost guns have been recovered in Onondaga County. “We know that there’s many, many more out there,” he said.

They’ve recovered 128 in six years?

Despite Conway’s assurances that there are many more on the streets, it’s pretty clear that this isn’t nearly as big of an issue as they’re making it. Onondaga County is Syracuse. While it’s not New York City, it’s not some tiny hamlet in the middle of nowhere either. With a population of around 460,000, roughly 60 such weapons a year doesn’t really seem like a huge problem.

And isn’t it illegal in New York to build “ghost guns?” How are those gun control laws actually working?

Further, I’m not sure how much evidence there was that Seils actually sold the guns. No piles of cash were reportedly found, for example. Nothing except a handful of “ghost guns” that law enforcement can hold up and pretend they’re addressing violent crime.

Granted, he’s a convicted felon who can’t lawfully own or make firearms, but he claims doing so was a hobby, and it is for a large number of other Americans. Regardless, he’s going to jail for that alone.

But the grandstanding is what bothers me.

So-called ghost guns aren’t the problem. They never have been. The problem is that we have a mass of people in this country with no concept of decency, where human lives matter.

But elected officials can’t grandstand on stuff like that.