‘Ghost Guns’ Complicate Crackdown on Firearm Violence

‘Ghost Guns’ Complicate Crackdown on Firearm Violence

Photo of 3D-printed gun by Trayana Vladimirova via Flickr. Advocates and researchers say there are potentially thousands of firearms in America that we don’t know exist, or have little data on where they came from — ranging from untraceable homemade “ghost guns,” to guns purchased legally that end up being trafficked, FiveThirtyEight details. There are about 400 million guns and about 100 million gun owners in the United States, according to Tom Chittum , the number-two official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Chittum was quick to add, “The vast majority of those [firearms] are never going to be used in a crime.” But the existence of thousands of guns with no discernible ownership on the records has complicated the national push to get more guns off the street and increase gun control. Prosecutors around the country are battling against a threat they can’t seem to track down, mainly because by nature, the threat is untraceable. Advancements in at-home 3-D printing technology has allowed people to purchase blueprint kits to assemble their own guns in the comfort of their own space. These blueprints aren’t to make cheap toys — they are true deadly “ghost gun” weapons that have no serial numbers, making them impossible to trace if they turn up at a crime scene. Just in August alone, police in Pennsylvania and New Jersey arrested three men smuggling ghost guns across state lines. They were only caught because a confidential informant was planning to buy […]

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