The term ‘ghost gun’ has been in the news a great deal already this week (almost as much as that singer who claims to be pregnant!). Turns out the Department of Justice has issued a new ruling pertaining to ghost guns and President Biden announced the new ruling yesterday. I saw the headlines more than a few times, but passed them over for the time being, intending to return to the story when I had time to ask some questions and seek answers. So, late Monday night, I asked my first question: What the hell is a ghost gun, anyway?
And then I sought the answer. A ghost gun, as I understand it, is a kit … rather a do-it-yourself gun that comes in pieces but can be easily assembled in about a half hour. The attraction for the gun nuts is that the ghost gun is … or has been heretofore … untraceable. Anybody, regardless of age or criminal history, can buy these kits, make a gun, and POW! Now … if you want to own a gun, but you don’t intend to commit a crime with it, then … why does it matter, why do you care if it’s traceable? It seems to me that the only people who would spend their money for a gun kit, go to the trouble of assembling the gun, just so nobody would know they have the gun, are those people who intend to use said gun in the commission of a crime! You follow my logic here? Guns have one purpose and one purpose only: to kill.
The new Department of Justice rule highlighted by the President on Monday would make it illegal for firms to make such kits without a serial number for the components and for a gun dealer to market the kits without requiring the buyer to undergo a background check. That way, at least when such guns are recovered after a crime there is some hope of tracing the perpetrators. Personally, I would much prefer that these guns be outlawed altogether, but I am in the minority on my stance on guns, so I would happily seek a reasonable compromise. I strongly suspect, though, that the new ruling will be found to be unenforceable. Companies that sell gun kits and people who buy them do not necessarily play by the rules.
President Biden is a bit more optimistic than I, though …
“All of a sudden, it’s no longer a ghost. It has a return address. And it’s going to help save lives, reduce crime and get more criminals off the streets.”
An oversimplification, perhaps. I mean … thus far, we haven’t been able to get any guns out of the hands of criminals! Our country is the laughingstock of the world for our lax and unenforced gun ‘laws’, such as they are. Hell, we haven’t even managed to pass a law banning assault weapons, guns that kill hundreds at a time and were designed specifically and only for use by the military! Why? Because far too many members of Congress have been bought and paid for by the gun industry.
Yesterday, I read that Georgia’s Governor Kemp signed into law a bill that enables people to carry a concealed weapon without a license. That stoked my curiosity about the various states’ gun laws. Did you know that an estimated 22% of US gun owners acquired their most recent firearm without a background check—which translates to millions of Americans acquiring millions of guns, no questions asked, each year?
Fourteen states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada , New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington) and the District of Columbia generally require universal background checks at the point of sale for all sales of all classes of firearms, whether they are purchased from a licensed dealer or an unlicensed seller. But how do you enforce that law? If I owned a gun and wanted to sell it to my neighbor, I could simply hand him the gun and he could hand me the money and the deal is done. The laws, many of which are being taken OFF the books in many states, aren’t enforceable! Only honest people, people who truly want a rifle for target practice or a pistol in case of a home invasion, are going to abide by the law. All others know exactly how to circumvent it! Ghost guns are only a part of the problem!
In 2021, about 20,000 suspected ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations and reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The figure marked a tenfold increase from 2016. And those are just the ones that were found! How many more are out there in the hands of people with criminal backgrounds, people with a better aim than they have sense, and people with a temper? In my ever-so-humble opinion, the only way to put the problem of ghost guns to bed is to shut down every seller of the kits. Every. Last. One. Make them illegal to buy or sell.
The gun laws we have thus far are insufficient to keep our society safe. Worse yet, many states’ laws are even more lax. And still worse yet, a large portion of this nation would happily fight for their right to own a gun … even before they would stand firm for their right to be a parent. And, a topic for another day is 3D-printed guns, yet another form of ghost gun that can be produced with a 3D printer that anybody can purchase for just a few hundred dollars.
The entire gun industry is a scourge on this nation. A few fat, wealthy blokes are laughing and eating steak tonight, while other, not-so-wealthy people will find themselves dead via a gun by morning. The people of the United States do not need to worry about being invaded by another nation, for we are hellbent and determined to destroy ourselves from within.