Dettelbach celebrates "ghost gun" rule that does nothing

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The courts have ruled that the ATF can continue enforcing its new rules against so-called ghost guns while a legal challenge continues to work its way through the judicial system.


For gun control advocates, this is a win, even if a temporary one.

For gun rights supporters, well, it’s a setback, but it’s not the end of the world either. It’s not particularly likely to be upheld long-term, even if the current court sides with the ATF.

But ATF director Steve Dettelbach won’t let those little facts get in the way of celebrating this rule, even if it’s destined to be short-lived.

One of the nation’s top law enforcement officials says he hopes a rule regulating “ghost guns” will aid in efforts to crack down on a recent proliferation of these weapons.

Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives talked about the issue during a recent visit to Tampa.

Ghost guns, or privately made firearms, are guns that people can assemble at home from kits or separate components.

“And the reason we call them ghost guns is because they’re largely untraceable, because there are no background checks run — it’s not because they don’t kill people, they kill people just the same,” Dettelbach said.

Literally no one thought they didn’t kill people, Steve. Don’t try to play like you’re witty or clever because, honestly, it just produces what the kids call cringe.


Moving on…

“The reason we run background checks is to prevent people who everybody agrees shouldn’t have firearms from getting them,” Dettelbach said. “The other reason we want people to obey the law is because those serial numbers on the guns let us catch killers.”

Do they, though?

We know that most criminals obtain their guns unlawfully. Serial numbers may help find the small percentage who get them through straw purchases, but the majority are armed with stolen guns–either stolen by themselves or bought on the black market–and I’m sorry, I fail to see how a serial number leads anyone to such a killer.

It might provide a useful bit of evidence in prosecuting such a person–assuming you recover the gun and it wasn’t dumped in a river or something–but it’s not the key piece of evidence in most cases.

Which is probably for the best, because the ATF’s new rule doesn’t actually end “ghost guns.”

All the rule does is put a requirement on those who sell incomplete receivers. What it doesn’t do, though, is literally anything to inhibit those who 3D print receivers, none of whom are required to put a serial number on their guns.


See, what Dettelbach and those like him never seem to consider is that for every rule they try to throw up, a horde of criminals already know how to get around them. It’s not even difficult to figure out how to get around those particular rules.

For all the demonization of “ghost guns,” though, what we’re not seeing is literally anything from the Biden administration seeking to undermine criminal behavior. They continue to blame the guns and Dettelbach is just part of that.

They’re more than willing to let bad guys be bad guys and even coddle them whenever possible, but they’re also more than willing to blame our right to keep and bear arms for those bad guys continuing to be bad guys.

It’s downright insane, yet here we are.

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