Homemade Firearms- 'Ghost Guns'- Crime Facts From Police

Part 2 in series on these guns facing new ATF regulations

This is part 2 in my series on how so-called ghost guns are impacting policing in America. Read part 1 that I wrote here. I’m now writing under this alias from the movie “Lethal Weapon” to protect my identity.

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I work full time for a large department. I have been watching the public debate over what the politicians and media call ghost guns. People on the other side keep saying that they aren’t used in crimes. I can say first hand that they are, and I’m going to give some more facts. I was the anonymous police source who counted the homemade guns in her article Criminals have Ghost Guns on City Streets.

My first article was simply to help journalists doing their due diligence, such as my friend Emily Miller, and understand what politicians are calling ghost guns. For the sake of keeping heads from exploding, I’ll call them homemade firearms in this article. It will not change the problem that they account for approximately 20% of handguns being recovered here, nor the outcome, but I’ll do so. 

Emily already knew I was a lifelong supporter of the Second Amendment, and that I already have several homemade firearms.  We had email conversations after that guy in the White House had his news conference in which he advocated for serial numbers and background checks for homemade firearms.  

Doing her due diligence, the questions arose as to the number of crimes in which a weapon is ever recovered; and of those recovered, how many had serial numbers that have led to the conviction of anyone that may have transferred the weapon illegally. I don’t have those answers, but we agree it is likely very small and almost nonexistent, so again serialization of homemade firearms made no sense.

We also agreed that background checks for homemade firearms would be impossible to do, and even if they could be conducted, they wouldn’t prevent crimes from occurring. Our conclusion was that there is a much bigger crime problem that will not be solved in a year, or even fifteen years. 

Emily then advised me that there was a hearing on Capitol Hill in reference to homemade firearms. I couldn’t watch it all; but watched as much of the hearing as I could. When it was over, Emily still wanted clarity as to what constitutes what the politicians are calling “Ghost Guns” (last time, I hope). I told her I would attempt to clarify the issue for her. 

That led to the previous article. Nowhere in the article did I advocate requiring serial numbers. Nowhere in the article did I advocate background checks for homemade firearms. That’s impossible to accomplish anyway. Nowhere in the article did I advocate for any further restrictions of any kind.  

Next, Emily asked me about the very question that everyone is denying.  She asked me if the number of homemade weapons being recovered from criminals is going up. My first thought was no. I knew it wasn’t a few years ago, but hadn’t followed closely. Then I thought I should check for myself. To my surprise, the answer was yes, a lot more criminals are using homemade guns. 

The first article wasn’t from a liberal trying to create a problem that doesn’t exist. It was from a conservative saying, “oh shit”, a problem is growing. Acknowledging the problem doesn’t equate to wanting further restrictions for me or anyone else. 

I totally agree that criminals are the problem.  I totally agree that criminals are going to get guns by stealing.  I totally agree that most weapons possessed by criminals are stolen. I totally agree that criminals will use another weapon if they don’t have a firearm. I totally agree that criminals don’t care about another law. I see it daily. Yes, I know the first homicide was committed with a rock. 

Think about this for a minute. We know criminals don’t care about laws, but they aren’t completely stupid. They’re fairly lazy unless it’s something they want. 

In the past, if criminals couldn’t purchase a weapon legally, they had a few options.  They could buy it on the black market and risk buying it from an undercover officer. They could B&E your home in the middle of day but risk getting arrested in the hopes of trying to score a firearm. They may have to B&E several homes to finally score a firearm. They could B&E a store with some fellow criminals in the middle of the night and risk being arrested or caught on surveillance. These options add risk, require work, and can inhibit their criminal life.  

Today they can go to a gun show and buy some kits legally with cash.  Leaving no electronic trail, they roll home and begin assembling weapons at their leisure with very few tools. No risk of breaking in and not finding a weapon. No risk of getting arrested. Even if the individual criminal is not finishing the firearm, and instead one individual is building many and selling them, there’s very little risk to them as well. 

Many argue that the criminals aren’t making their own homemade firearms because it’s too difficult. It’s not that difficult. Criminals set up methamphetamine labs. I’m sure there are criminals that are making their own.  Just depends on how hard core they are and how bad they want them. 

Many folks raised questions about obliterated serial numbers in my total count. Those are not counted here. The 20% is strictly homemade firearms. Although I’m confident most firearms used in crimes are stolen, the percentage of firearms recovered with obliterated serial numbers is actually very low. 

This is my main point about the public debate.  It doesn’t matter how criminals are getting the homemade guns, but they are using them a lot more and that affects our job. 

This problem may not be real in your area if you live out in the country. It may not be a real problem if you live in a suburban area. But you need to know that it is absolutely a problem in urban areas.  

If our stance is simply “Shall not Infringe”, that’s fine. I’m just letting everyone know this is occurring. 

One final note that is adding to the pain, we have to pray David Chipman is not confirmed to run ATF. (Emily wrote about him in "ATF Director Nominee David Chipman Wants to Confiscate AR-15 Rifles”) It would behoove us all to call and mail our representatives. At some point the criminals need to be held accountable and the law abiding need to be left alone. 

There are many more things I’d like to address, but my time is extremely limited. I really have no need or desire to be here writing, but I’m sure I’ll be back when I can. I’ll read your comments if you leave them. -RM

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