Lombardo Blasted for Undercounting 'Ghost Guns.' It Still Doesn't Matter

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

Following the Route 91 massacre, Nevada started getting its hackles up about gun control. 

I mean, I get why. If you're someone inclined to link a lack of gun control with the deadliest mass shooting of the modern era, you're going to figure you should pass some kind of gun control. Someone's going to want to do something.

But so-called ghost guns didn't play any role in that shooting. It doesn't matter, though, because anti-gunners don't care. They may start off by focusing on whatever their pretext is, but they won't stay there.

And yet again, the state is trying to ban "ghost guns."

What's more, some comments by the governor during the campaign are being used to hammer his opposition to a ban.

More than a year before he was elected governor, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told a group of pro-gun voters that over the previous 12 months, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department had encountered just six ghost guns. 

“It’s not a big issue,” he said at the time.

But according to an investigation of police records by KUNR and APM Reports, officers had recovered at least 252 of the firearms, which are often sold in kits without serial numbers, at the time Lombardo made those remarks. At the time, Lombardo was still serving as the department’s sheriff. 

Responding to Lombardo’s inaccurate claim, Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) didn’t mince words.

“He chose the gun lobby over the safety of Nevadans. He chose the gun lobby over Nevada lives,” she said in an interview with KUNR.

He really didn't.

First, let's understand that without knowing exactly what he said and how he said it, I can't say he actually lied or anything of the sort about only recovering six unserialized firearms. It's entirely possible that he was being sarcastic and understating it to make a point versus trying to mislead people.

And the underlying point, that these aren't an issue, remains.

"But there were 252 'ghost guns' recovered," someone will bark. Sure, that seems to be the case.

Yet let's put those numbers in some kind of context. 

First, Las Vegas has a population of nearly 650,000 people. It also is a massive tourist destination and boasts another 600,000 tourists each week. So with nearly 1.2 million people per week, the existence of 252 of a particular type of firearm doesn't sound like a major issue.

What's more, the link to the claim of that 252 guns? It acknowledges that "40,000 handguns that were seized by Las Vegas police between 2015 and late 2023." It acknowledges that at no point have these accounted for even 10 percent of the firearms recovered.

So yeah, I'm willing to accept that these aren't an issue.

Especially if you can't show that those who had these guns would have been kept unarmed otherwise.

See, a ban on homemade, unserialized firearms will only do something if you can show that it's the only way these people could have possibly gotten a firearm. If they could get it via some other means, then such a ban is useless.

None of this, however, touches on the constitutionality of such a law. In the wake of Bruen, we know what a gun control law needs in order to pass constitutional muster, and that includes an analog at certain points in American history.

Making your own guns predates this nation as a political entity. People have made their own guns here since the first settlers got to these shores. If the Founding Fathers saw a problem with people making their own guns, they could have addressed it. 

They did not.

You could claim that they couldn't foresee what we're dealing with today, but that's an irrelevant argument. They didn't provide for such a ban and so such a ban is clearly unconstitutional. Nevada hasn't found that out the hard way yet simply because Lombardo has prevented them from passing it.

They should thank him, even if he undercounted the total number of guns.