York, PA Considering Ban on 'Ghost Guns'

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

There's a lot of hysteria about unserialized firearms, commonly called "ghost guns" by the media and anti-gun politicians. Much of it stems from the fact that literally anyone can make one without jumping through the legal hoops we put in place on standard firearms.


Most of that hysteria is media-driven, of course, but that doesn't make it any less real. 

In York, Pennsylvania, it seems local officials have embraced the hysteria.

Since they're in a preemption state, their embracing of it shouldn't really matter since they can't do anything about it legally. Unfortunately, it seems as if they've forgotten that.

The York City Council will hold a news conference before meeting to consider Bill No. 14, a proposal sponsored by City Council President Edquina Washington, which aims to prohibit the possession, use, transfer and manufacturing of ghost guns.

Police and gun safety advocates, such as Cease Fire PA, have pointed out that the biggest problem with ghost guns is they're not only nearly impossible to trace because they have no serial number -- but they're also easy to access because the parts are sold online.

Most ghost gun build kits can be sold without a background check, making them easily accessible to people who can't buy or possess guns -- including convicted felons, domestic abusers, people with severe mental health issues, and kids.

They do mention that this is similar to a bill the legislature considered earlier this year, passing the House, but then going nowhere.


What the media didn't mention is that whole preemption thing. York can't legally enforce a local gun control ordinance of any kind. They can pass it--Philadelphia had a gun control law on the books for years, for example--but they can't enforce it unless the state legislature agrees with them.

The odds of that happening are about the same as President Joe Biden writing the next Ulysses. 

What's more, they don't need an ordinance.

When a criminal has a "ghost gun," they're breaking the law. When a criminal builds one, he's breaking the law. When someone makes a "ghost gun" to sell to criminals, they're breaking the law.

That covers pretty much everything that doesn't involve a law-abiding citizen.

An ordinance, assuming it's enforced, just makes it a problem for regular citizens to build their own firearms, something that predates the Second Amendment as a practice and most definitely would survive any challenge involving the history, text, and tradition of gun rights in this country.

Meanwhile, criminals will just find a way around the ordinance.

Perhaps more importantly, though, there's actually no evidence that criminals found with unserialized firearms would have been unarmed had unserialized firearms been banned. Keep in mind that the high points of homicides in this country were well before unserialized firearms were considered some kind of menace.


It wasn't like criminals suddenly forgot how to obtain traditionally manufactured firearms in spite of the law. Take away so-called ghost guns and they'll never blink about it. They'll just get what they can get because the tracing of the gun won't lead to them anyway.

Seriously, so much of this hysteria is downright idiotic. It's based on people not understanding anything at all about crime, firearms, current gun laws, how criminals get gun laws, and so on. I'm not even talking about expert-level knowledge, either.

York, PA seems to have bought into the hysteria completely. Here's hoping someone has some common sense and recognizes that preemption is still a thing in Pennsylvania.

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