Why All the Fuss Over “Ghost Guns” in California and Pennsylvania?

Dec. 25, 2019
Bob Adelmann

The manufacture and sale of "ghost guns" – those without serial numbers – is a virtual cottage industry in California, and The Trace (a Bloomberg-funded anti-gun outlet) is unhappy about it. Back in May, it claimed that "nearly a third of firearms recovered in the state are homemade, unserialized, and untraceable."

In a totalitarian society, such a situation cannot be tolerated. The government must know the location of every firearm owned by every citizen. Otherwise the natives might get restless over the onslaught of progressives seeking to control their lives.

In 2016, California decided it was time to take aim (sorry) at those citizens who had the audacity to make their own guns at home using 3-D technology, or purchasing receivers (the part of a firearm that contains the firing mechanism) from gun dealers and making them operational at home.

The legislature passed a law requiring gun owners to register their homemade firearms with law enforcement. (It also passed a second law that outlawed the possession of any firearm that wasn't registered.) To its dismay, the anti-gun outlet reported that "records obtained by The Trace and NBC indicate that the law has had little effect. Compliance with the law is low, and prosecutors have never brought charges under the new statute."

The group noted that, since July 2018, only 2,214 "ghost guns" have been registered in accordance with the law, a virtually invisible number compared to the 4.2 million Californians who are believed to own at least one firearm. In addition, says the group: "Not a single person has been charged with having an unregistered ghost gun since the criminal penalties kicked in on January 1, 2019."

Undeterred by this harsh reality in California, Pennsylvania State Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued his "legal opinion" last week that those receivers are now to be treated as complete firearms by the Pennsylvania State Police.

The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed suit. The group claimed that Shapiro stepped outside his legal authority:

Rule by executive fiat was rejected by the Thirteen American Colonies, including Pennsylvania, when they declared independence from England, and we reject such lawlessness today. The Attorney General's revisionist legal opinion adds an entire class of inanimate objects to the definition of "firearm" under Pennsylvania law that the General Assembly never considered, nor intended.

Federal law holds that receivers may be bought and sold (as well as created at home using 3-D printing technology) without federal notice as long as they aren't completely operable. Referred to as "80 percent receivers," they can be purchased and then finished at home without having to put a serial number on them or otherwise notify the government.


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But, according to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, this is a federal "loophole" that he hopes the expanded opinion from his attorney general will plug:

If we don't recognize that 80 percent receivers are firearms under Pennsylvania law, we are creating a giant loophole that allows criminals to skirt our agreed-upon laws that keep people safe. Changing this classification will not hurt legal, responsible gun owners … This change will stop criminals, terrorists, and other people who can't pass a background check from acquiring a gun through the loophole.

Except that those "criminals, terrorists, and other people" don't use the loophole. Criminals and terrorists and those nasty "other people" Wolf referred to just can't be bothered. It's easier and cheaper to steal them, trade for them on the street, or bring them in from outside. Making ghost guns at home involves the use of a 3-D printer, software (available for free or for a small fee on the internet), and a milling machine (or a Dremel and a steady hand). Most intent on mayhem won't take the time, spend the money, or expend the trouble to make one when other weaponry is so readily available, more cheaply, elsewhere.

Why all the fuss? What motivates people like Shapiro and legislatures in Pennsylvania and California (and elsewhere) to attempt to solve a problem that doesn't exist? The best statistics available show that "ghost guns" number well less than a million among the estimated 400 million firearms owned privately by American citizens.

The fuss doesn't have anything to do with crime, gun violence, or keeping weaponry out of the hands of criminals intent on murder and violence. It has everything to do with knowing where all the firearms are and who has them. They want laws that allow them to track, follow, surveil, and limit the freedom of citizens so they cannot be a threat to their totalitarian agendas.

It's helpful to remember that communist dictator Mao Tse Tung said that, "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns. That way, no guns can ever be used to command the party."

It's not paranoia to accuse anti-gunners of wanting to relieve law-abiding gun owners of their firearms. After all, it was California Senator Dianne Feinstein who let the cat out of the bag back in 1995 when she said, "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it."

In September, former congressman Beto O'Rourke announced during a Democrat debate: "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

That's what the fuss is all about, and it has nothing to do with reining in gun violence.

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Sources:

The Blaze: Gun-rights advocates sue Pennsylvania over 'ghost gun' rule, say state is classifying 'a hunk of metal' as a firearm

Newsweek: GUN-RIGHTS GROUP SUES PENNSYLVANIA OVER NEW 'GHOST GUNS' RULE

Background on Ghost guns

The Trace: Ghost Guns Are Everywhere in California

Website of The Trace

U.S. LAW SHIELD: UNTRACEABLE "GHOST GUNS" ON THE RISE, BUT ARE THEY LEGAL?

Quote from Dianne Feinstein in 1995

Quote from Beto O'Rourke in 2019

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