Gottheimer's 'Ghost Gun' Proposal Even Dumber Than Most

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

I get sick of the "ghost gun" hysteria, mostly because there's no evidence of such weapons really doing much of anything. They're only used in a small fraction of crimes and there's no evidence to suggest that those crimes wouldn't have happened with some other kind of gun had "ghost guns" not been a thing.

But New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer seems to be big mad about them just the same. He's talking about legislation that he thinks will really address the situation.

See, the problem he has is that so-called ghost guns can be made undetectable.

Metal detectors are designed to catch contraband – like guns.

But what happens if guns have no metal parts?

Rep. Josh Gottheimer discussed that very situation Thursday morning with local activists and law enforcement officials.

The congressman, like most Democrats, is a long-time supporter of what he calls “common sense” gun laws. Today’s event at the Bogota Savings Bank Center on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University was also geared to keeping firearms out of sporting venues, which Gottheimer said is a big concern with the FIFA World Cup coming to the U.S. in 2026. Eight matches, including the final, will be played in New Jersey, an event expected to attract more than a million people.

The particular issue revolves around the Undetectable Firearms Act, which dates back to 1988 and which was just renewed to run through 2031.

The act targets plastic weapons and other so-called “ghost guns” requiring that all guns include enough metal to set off X-ray machines and metal detectors.

Gottheimer explained that “enough metal” can be something as small as a marble.

The act has been renewed four times, but Gottheimer wants to stop the periodic renewal fight. He is proposing legislation to make the act permanent.

He said having the act on the books permanently is necessary, because criminals are becoming more creative in manufacturing guns with 3-D printers and the like that may not be picked up by a magnetometer. He said that since 2017, more than 37,000 ghost guns have been recovered by America’s law enforcement.

First, let's point out how much violent crime there's been since 2017. We're looking at around 1.2 million violent crimes each year since 2017. 37,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to those numbers. Especially considering we don't know where he got the number in the first place, so have no way to confirm its accuracy.

But what about the crux of Gottheimer's argument, that these guns can someday be made undetectable?

Well, he's probably right. The materials are getting better for 3D-printed goods, including guns, and with other materials out there, someone may be able to find a way around using detectable metals at all.

That doesn't mean anything, though.

See, what Gottheimer is forgetting is that people who are making "ghost guns" for sale to criminals are breaking the law by doing so already. In many cases, just making the gun is illegal, even if they don't intend to sell it, but making a gun for sale without the proper licenses is illegal anywhere in the US.

When someone is already breaking the law, do you really think they're going to hesitate to break another one? Particularly when they can sell it as undetectable?

If you do, please call someone for psychological help immediately, then find all the teachers you had throughout your education and demand an apology from them for failing you so miserably, then smack yourself in the face because at least part of this is on you for being that stupid..

Of course, criminals will do what they want to do, especially when they're already breaking the law. 

Passing new laws isn't the way to deal with something like this. Especially considering the Undetectable Firearms Act was nothing more than an act of legislative hysteria, reacting to guns that didn't exist and still don't.

We might get there, sure, but if we do, guess what? You'll have to figure out another way to deal with them because making the law permanent won't stop the bad actors who are intent on breaking the law in the first place.

No, such a law won't impact most of us, even those who like to make their own guns, but it will be a complete waste of time and resources.

Then again, that's kind of the SOP for Congress these days.