Across the United States, mainstream network affiliates (local broadcasters) are frantically publishing stories and reports concerning law enforcement struggle to combat unregulated, DIY “ghost guns.” A ghost gun is a firearm without a serial number. It is lethal, untraceable, and perfectly legal, which has federal and state officials terrified that more and more Americans are building these killing machines in their own homes.
Perhaps the surging popularity of Ghost Guns is explainable. The same way Americans do not like corporations and U.S. intelligence agencies examining their emails and texts; they are now demanding weapon privacy. This is an astonishing shift in how the political frustrations of the everyday American are festering into an alarming trend.
Federal and State law enforcement agencies describe these do-it-yourself weapons as a Ghost Gun. It is relatively simple, with a few clicks online, anyone can fill a shopping cart with the components to build an assault-style rifle. There is no background check nor identification needed to purchase a Ghost gun.
The lower receiver, which is the only part legally considered a gun by U.S. Law, can be completed from an “80% receiver” lawfully purchased online. The remaining 20% of work must be achieved using a standard drill press or machine tools available at a neighborhood Home Depot. Once the lower receiver is milled, the gun can then be assembled. Total build-out time is somewhere between two to three hours, and presto, an assault-style rifle that the government has no idea exists.
Recently, a CBS news team documented how they purchased a Ghost Gun from a website and assembled it within a few hours.
“It’s not going to take a tremendous amount of gunsmithing skills,” said Scott Reitz, a retired Los Angeles Police Department SWAT officer.
Reitz agreed to supervise the CBS news team while a Glock 9mm with no serial numbers was being milled. All the news team had to do was follow simple directions on YouTube, which took less than three hours to complete. Once the gun was assembled, Reitz ran the Ghost Gun through a series of firing tests, where he deemed the weapon operational.
CBS says countless websites across the internet offer Ghost Gun kits for everything from handguns to the most popular assault rifles.
“They’re trying to appeal to a certain segment of the population,” said Dave Hamilton, senior special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “Felons who can’t go to a gun store and legally purchase a firearm, or people who just don’t want the government knowing what type of firearms they have.”
“There’s nothing the ATF can do,” said Ginger Colbrun, with the ATF’s Southern California Public Information Office. “These firearms are with gang members, these firearms are being are being found at various crime scenes all over the country.”
“ATF can’t go shut down the people who are selling these parts because these parts are not regulated,” said Colbrun.
“It’s really up to those companies to be responsible,” Colbrun said. “They’re the ones that are going to have to live with themselves.”
On July 1st, 2018, California’s AB857 comes into effect. This law requires 80% frames finished after July 1 to be reported to the California Department of Justice.
AB 857, Cooper. Firearms: identifying information.
Existing law authorizes the Department of Justice to assign a distinguishing number or mark of identification to any firearm whenever the firearm lacks a manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification, or whenever the manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification or distinguishing number or mark assigned by the department has been destroyed or obliterated.
This bill would, commencing July 1, 2018, and subject to exceptions, require a person who manufactures or assembles a firearm to first apply to the department for a unique serial number or other identifying mark, as provided. The bill would, by January 1, 2019, and subject to exceptions, require any person who, as of July 1, 2018, owns a firearm that does not bear a serial number to likewise apply to the department for a unique serial number or other mark of identification. The bill would, except as provided, prohibit the sale or transfer of ownership of a firearm manufactured or assembled pursuant to these provisions. The bill would prohibit a person from aiding in the manufacture or assembly of a firearm by a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm. The bill would make a violation of these provisions a misdemeanor. By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The bill would require the department to issue a serial number or other identifying mark to an applicant meeting specified criteria and would allow the department to charge a fee to recover its costs associated with assigning a distinguishing number or mark pursuant to the above provisions.
This bill would make a conforming change. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
YouTuber shows how easy it is to build a Ghost Gun AR-15 assault rifle in a step-by-step tutorial: