NYPD Puts Number to 'Ghost Guns' Seized

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Over the last few years, we’ve seen countless reports about how awful the “ghost gun” issue has become. Usually, they lack any kind of context at all and are presented in a way we can’t discern anything at all other than the scary percentages they throw at us.


But if we’re going to evaluate whether something is an issue or not, we need more than that. We need more than “four times more than last year” or something equally nebulous.

We need hard numbers.

In New York City, the NYPD just gave us a glimpse of the scope of the issue there. They gave us an actual number.

The NYPD has seized 389 untraceable ghost guns so far this year — a 710% surge in such seizures since 2019, when a mere 48 were taken, police stats show.

In 2022, a record-high 463 of these deadly firearms were recovered.

“It’s distressing to see that many ghost guns recovered by police,” Mark Collins, federal policy director at gun control advocacy group Brady, told The Post.

“They are the perfect gun for crime … If you’re a prohibited person and want to get a gun, and don’t want people to know you have that gun, these are the firearms for you.”

Now, maybe it’s just me, but 389 guns doesn’t sound like a terribly high number of “ghost guns” in the Big Apple. I mean, it’s a city with a population more than Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, and a pile of other nation.

What we lack, though, is a total number of guns recovered by police. It seems there’s a pathological inability for reporters to actually ask that question when they’re talking to law enforcement.


Luckily, we have some numbers from much earlier in the year that can give us a clue.

In a report from the first part of June, the NYPD claimed it recovered more than 2,100 guns at that point in the year. If all the “ghost guns” were part of that number, it would account for nearly 19 percent of the guns. That would be a lot.

While it’s not a guarantee that those numbers would extrapolate out for the entire year–some months might be less of an issue than others, after all–if we were to double that 2,100 guns number to get some frame of references, we’d find that “ghost guns” account for less than 10 percent of the total guns recovered by the NYPD.

Sure, it’s a bigger thing than it was in 2019, but it’s still not nearly as big of an issue as people like the Brady talking head quoted above would have us believe. If these guns were “perfect…for crime” as he claims, why isn’t everyone using one? Why aren’t all criminals using them?

The truth of the matter is that criminals got nearly 4,000 guns–more, really, because those numbers are only what the police recovered–in 2023 just fine despite all the current gun control laws on the books. “Ghost guns” are far from the only way prohibited people can get a firearm in spite of the law and anyone with a lick of sense knows it.


And let’s not forget that at least some of these “ghost guns” are probably traditional guns where the serial number has been removed somehow versus guns someone built in their garage.

So no, I’m unconvinced that this is some tremendous scourge in our society that we simply must take steps to address. That’s not even going to get into how those steps aren’t going to work anyway.

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