Four New York Men Charged With Trafficking 'Ghost Guns'

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

New York state has extensive gun control laws, including a ban on homemade, unserialized firearms. You know, what the media loves to call "ghost guns" because it sounds scarier than "hobby."


The laws against them aren't particularly new, either. They've been on the books for a little while now, which means that if they were going to work, they'd already be working.

And, to be fair, to some degree, it can be argued that they are working. At least, that's true if you meant for them to keep law-abiding citizens from making their own firearms for their own use and amusement.

If you mean for them to actually stop criminals, well, then they're not working at all.

Four suspects are charged with 35 crimes relating to a gun trafficking operation in Central New York.

According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, three Central New York men and one South Carolina man were charged with various counts of criminal possession and criminal sale of a firearm for their involvement in the firearms trafficking operation.

An investigation led by the AG’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) recovered 31 firearms and receivers, including 18 ghost guns or parts used to make ghost guns, dozens of high-capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The following firearms and components seized include:

  • Nine Polymer80 and AR-15 style unfinished frames/receivers, used to assemble ghost guns
  • Nine unserialized and unregistered Polymer80 ghost gun pistols
  • Nine serialized unregistered firearms
  • Three AR-15-style rifles
  • One 7.62 assault rifle
  • Dozens of magazines, including several extended magazines classified as high-capacity ammunition feeding devices
  • Hundreds of rounds of ammunition

The investigation began in June 2022, originally into two sources of illegal firearms trafficking, including ghost guns, in the Syracuse area.


Of course, we don't know much about the nine "unserialized unregistered firearms" noted above. My guess is that they weren't so much "unserialized" as "had the serial number removed," but that's just a hunch. If they were 3d printed, for example, I suspect they'd have said that, if for no other reason than to potentially justify restrictions on printers.

It should be noted that Polymer80 doesn't ship to New York, meaning that this wasn't on them. This is someone who made an order, had it delivered out of state, then somehow transported to New York, either as a gun or just as a raw, incomplete receiver.

The truth is that for all the anti-"ghost gun" hysteria and the attempts to deal with it, things like this aren't particularly common compared to more traditionally manufactured guns and even if it were, that ship has long set sail.

Laws won't stop the non-law-abiding. It's kind of in the description of such people, right there for everyone to see. If there's a way to get their hands on something they're not allowed to have, they'll find it.

And some creative soul will find a way to provide it. 


A much better use of time and resources would be to try and convince the would-be market for such guns to walk a different path, one where they can lawfully own firearms because they're productive members of society rather than criminal leeches.

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