New York's "ghost gun" ban not working out as planned

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

So-called ghost guns are supposedly the great scourge of our age. The media routinely touts increases in their discovery by police as evidence something needs to be done about them.

New York heeded those dire warnings early. Unserialized firearms have been banned there for a while now, which according to gun control activists should make everything better.

Well, that worked out about like I expected.

Law enforcement officials in New York have seen a sharp rise in the recovery of guns manufactured using a 3D printer since they were first outlawed in 2019, according to an assessment by the Rockefeller Institute of Government released this month.

The number of firearms made through the 3D printing process recovered has grown from 100 guns in 2019 to 637 firearms last year, the analysis found.

The number is still small compared to the number of illegal guns seized by police overall that have flowed into New York from other states and have been linked to crimes.

Still, the growth in 3D-printed gun recoveries underscores how much of a challenge the hard-to-trace firearms pose. The guns do not have serial numbers and can be manufactured without required background checks.

And three years after the ban was passed, they’re seeing more and more of them being recovered by police.

At the time of the ban, a lot of gun rights advocates argued that the law wouldn’t stop criminals from getting these types of guns. It would only stop law-abiding citizens from building these types of guns.

Three years later, we see that was completely accurate.

We also see just how few of these guns there actually are being recovered. For all the fearmongering over these guns, only a small percentage of guns used by criminals are unserialized firearms.

Yet as for 3D-printed guns, a while back I declared this technology to basically be the death of gun control. Once guns can be printed by anyone with something they order from Amazon, any hopes of stopping people from getting guns become well and truly over.

The problem is that the anti-gunners in places like New York can’t understand that.

They’re still wrapped up in the idea that you can control firearms in some meaningful way. They ban “ghost guns” and assume that will work, but instead, all we see is the proliferation of these weapons. We warned them and they didn’t listen. They dismissed us because our arguments went against their narrative, one fueled by ages of bad studies.

Gun control doesn’t work and this is just one of a million different examples.

If you want to reduce crime, banning certain types of guns doesn’t cut it, as should be obvious by now. You need to go after the roots of violence, not the tools used. As we’ve seen elsewhere, criminals can and will kill with whatever they have available to them. The law-abiding citizen, without a gun, tends to be at a profound disadvantage.

“But they don’t need 3D-printed guns!” someone might say, to which I respond that it’s not your call, especially since the ban has clearly failed.