Months ago, we told readers "ghost guns," which are untraceable to the federal government and can either be made from 80% percent lower kits or 3D printers were popping up all across Baltimore City. Now the number of ghost guns the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) expects to seize this year is set to be more than double what it was last year.
Baltimore police are on track to seize at least twice as many privately manufactured firearms — often called "ghost guns" — as they did in 2020, Sheree Briscoe, the city's deputy police commissioner, said Tuesday.
At a virtual conversation moderated by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, Briscoe said the department has seen an increase in its recovery of privately manufactured firearms in the last few years.
The department recovered 29 ghost guns in 2019; 126 in 2020; and 83 from January to mid-May this year.
"We're on pace to surpass last year's numbers and potentially come in between 250 to 300 privately made firearms that will make their way to the streets of Baltimore in the hands of various age groups [and] communities," she said.
According to Briscoe, 15 ghost gun seizures were "directly linked" to homicide or shooting investigations in 2020.
"…To some that may not be a large percentage, but any percentage that's attributed to a gun that is not legally registered, legally manufactured with serial numbers, is a challenge because then you run the difficulty of trying to find out where did that come from, who may ever possess that gun," said Briscoe. - Maryland Matters
With more than 300 homicides for six consecutive years, 2021 murders are estimated to be over 300.
BCPD Commissioner Michael Harrison has blamed the rise in violent crime on several issues, including an officer shortage.
Last year, liberal city officials defunded BCPD, but as violent crime soared, newly elected Mayor Brandon Scott reversed their measure to increase funding.
The situation in the metro area is so severe that Governor Larry Hogan had a recent meeting with Mayor Scott and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. The governor said the meeting was "productive" but attributed the lack of consequences for petty crime to the surge in violence.
"When crime's being committed right in front of police officers, when the state's attorney refuses to prosecute half the crimes, we're not going to fix the problem, regardless of how many meetings we're going to have," Hogan said, referring to Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby halting the prosecution of minor traffic violations, prostitution, drug possession, and other minor offenses during the virus pandemic. In March, Mosby held a press conference to declare that rough policing doesn't prevent more violent crimes. Months later, her policing strategies have failed.
Last Wednesday, Mayor Scott sat down with President Biden at a roundtable discussion on gun violence. The mayor and Biden discussed new efforts to address violent crime.
"Today's conversation with Mayor Scott of Baltimore, for example, echoed what we know to be the case and hear from mayors all across the country. Mayors have the power to help shape and enforce the laws in their cities, but they can't control the laws in neighboring cities and states even though the gun legally bought there often ends up in their streets. Mayor Scott says that 80% of the guns in Baltimore were acquired outside the city. There's nothing he can do about that, so we have to act," Biden said.
The president has been an advocate for banning ghost guns and crushing the NRA.
When someone can create an entire 3D-printed ghost gun at their home for under $350, including the cost of the printer, it seems Biden's ambitions for more gun control could be a losing battle.