30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

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30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#1 Post by highdesert » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:58 am

Unserialized weapons [no serial numbers], colloquially known as “ghost guns,” entered the American imagination as the creation of hobbyists and backyard tinkerers. But as they’ve grown in popularity, criminals have identified ghost guns as a way to get around California’s restrictive gun laws. This class of weapons is easy to buy, and undetectable to authorities, because they are built without the government’s knowledge.

An investigation by The Trace in partnership with NBC Bay Area, NBC San Diego, and NBC Los Angeles found that law enforcement agencies across California are recovering record numbers of ghost guns. According to the ATF, 30 percent of all guns now recovered by agents in the state are unserialized. And without a serial number, they cannot be traced in criminal investigations.

California police departments that track ghost gun recoveries are seeing a similar trend. “This is not just something for enthusiasts. This has become something for people that are actual practitioners of violence,” said Graham Barlowe, the resident agent in charge at the ATF’s Sacramento field office. A ghost gun is a firearm manufactured outside of the traditional supply chain. It can be printed on a 3-D printer, or assembled with parts sold by the dozens of companies that create nearly completed firearms — known as “80 percent receivers,” which require no background check to sell.
As ghost guns proliferate across the state, lawmakers and police are scrambling to understand the scale of the problem, let alone remedy it. In 2016, the California Legislature passed a law requiring residents to register homemade weapons with law enforcement. A separate requirement outlawed the possession of unregistered ghost guns.

But 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. Now California law enforcement members are encountering ghost guns being made by criminals building them in their basement, as well as organized groups churning out untraceable firepower by the hundreds. “We’ve seen machine shops where they are lining them up and and completing them in 20-minute intervals, with three or four machines going at once,” said Barlowe, the ATF agent in Sacramento.
In 2014, the agency started carefully observing businesses like Ares Armor to see if their products crossed the line from part to firearm, which would require Karras to obtain a federal license to sell guns and and complete a background check with every sale. The ATF decided that Ares Armor had crossed the line, and raided the stores. Two dozen agents seized 6,000 incomplete receivers, and a list of 5,000 customers. Prosecutors accused Ares Armor of selling AR-15 receivers that passed a thin technical threshold making them “firearms”.

But after a series of court battles, and with agency never having officially charged Karras, the ATF gave the gun parts back — parts that Karras would later go on to sell. “They did absolutely nothing about it,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, they know they’re wrong.” The ATF declined to comment on the case.

In 2014, Polymer80, one of the nation’s larger producers of 80 percent receivers, was also raided. The case was dropped. ATF sources told The Trace that the U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped the case because of fears that a courtroom loss would create a bad legal precedent.
https://www.thetrace.org/2019/05/ghost- ... nia-crime/

CA gun laws at work protecting us. :sarcasm:
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#2 Post by YankeeTarheel » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:24 am

I have no problem with making ghost guns illegal, and requiring one-off guns made by enthusiasts to be registered.
But it's not much different than making heroin illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess.

However these companies that are selling 80% complete lower receivers are like people selling bong pipes: They KNOW they'll probably be used for illegal actions but their action cannot be justified as illegal (I suspect drug paraphernalia laws will be ruled unconstitutional at some poing--if they haven't been. A hash pipe only becomes "illegal" if there is residue in it).

But many things are sold legally that that can be used for illegal purposes. That's why you now need to sign for buying Sudafed (the real stuff). Because clever criminals would buy up several store's stock and use it to make methamphetamine from it. Mothballs and fertilizer can both be used to make explosives. You can even do it with the wrong mix of pool chemicals (I won't say how)!

This is why ATF stepped over the line and lost. But now they have those customer lists and while some may be criminals others may be hobbyists. Theoretically, if they used those lists, it would be "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" but knowing where to look means they can find other reasons to surveil names on "the list" and never show that "the list" was the seed of their investigations.

Of course, if we had a proper national database of gun registrations and people barred from owning, a hobbyist having completed assembled who then complied and legally registered it would (if the ATF were properly run) have their name expunged for that hidden list.

Again, making things illegal doesn't stop the criminally minded. Only if they believe they are likely to be caught and arrested and jailed do laws work.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#3 Post by shinzen » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:31 am

Meanwhile, those of us that are hobbyists and are willing to go through the registration process can't even put together a pistol anymore in California.

People doing home built guns has been a thing in this country forever. The 80% market has made it simpler to do, but there has to be a threshold where it's still just a chunk of metal. Banning "ghost guns" is well nigh impossible- if they make the threshold 70%, then new chunks of metal and new milling jigs will be invented. If they make the threshold 50% the same thing applies. By chasing this down instead of investing in communities to mitigate the causes of crime, we're just spinning our wheels.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#4 Post by CDFingers » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:24 am

Yes: let's make something illegal that we don't know whether it exists, something that can't be traced, something that cannot be connected to any person or company, something we can't prevent from being made. WCGW?

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#5 Post by BKinzey » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:04 pm

I need to see those 30%. I think it's bullshit. I'll believe they weren't able to trace 30% of firearms but not because they didn't have serial numbers. That's a HUGE leap of any number I have heard before. Of course the story also ignores the number of firearms WITH serial numbers that can't be traced for useable results.

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#6 Post by senorgrand » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:13 pm

well, many older guns don't have serial numbers either. some portion of that 30% are likely those sorts of guns.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#7 Post by JoelB » Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:57 pm

Most, but not all 22's made prior to 1968 did not have serial numbers. I wonder how many of them are included in those stats.

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#8 Post by BKinzey » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:37 pm

JoelB wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:57 pm
Most, but not all 22's made prior to 1968 did not have serial numbers. I wonder how many of them are included in those stats.
Maybe but all the .22's I have made before 1968 (several, sorry, not going to give a number) have them.

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#9 Post by TrueTexan » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:46 pm

BKinzey wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:37 pm
JoelB wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:57 pm
Most, but not all 22's made prior to 1968 did not have serial numbers. I wonder how many of them are included in those stats.
Maybe but all the .22's I have made before 1968 (several, sorry, not going to give a number) have them.
My Marlin M199 22LR carbine was bought new in 1967 for mr by my dad and it doesn’t have a serial number.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#10 Post by BKinzey » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:19 pm

TrueTexan wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:46 pm
BKinzey wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:37 pm
JoelB wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:57 pm
Most, but not all 22's made prior to 1968 did not have serial numbers. I wonder how many of them are included in those stats.
Maybe but all the .22's I have made before 1968 (several, sorry, not going to give a number) have them.
My Marlin M199 22LR carbine was bought new in 1967 for mr by my dad and it doesn’t have a serial number.
I questioned the use of the word "most". All I have, and most I've seen, have serial numbers. I believe that to be true but I do not know it. I do think it is more important to note that in the majority of cases being able to trace a gun by it's serial number is of little importance in a criminal case. I do not know how often recovered firearms are traced to see if it was stolen.

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#11 Post by BKinzey » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:38 am

The article also pushes the point these firearms can't be traced. Yet in the stories and instances they tell none of them would have been advanced by the firearm having a serial number. Far into the article they mention in CA you have to apply for a serial number and the number of people who have applied is extremely low. Yes, criminals aren't complying with the law. Who Knew?

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#12 Post by featureless » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:54 pm

BKinzey wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:38 am
Yes, criminals aren't complying with the law. Who Knew?
In California, there is a lot of noncompliance due to ignorance. The state is spectacularly good at passing new restrictions without bothering to inform people that their formerly legally acquired and owned property is now illegal. There is also a pretty fair percentage of noncompliance due to "fuck that." When you continue to create new folds of "illegal" in which to envelop the citizens, eventually the approach fails from noncompliance.

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#13 Post by dougb » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:13 pm

ATF is not in the business of recovering legal guns from law abiding people. yet.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#14 Post by Bisbee » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:49 pm

featureless wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:54 pm
BKinzey wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:38 am
Yes, criminals aren't complying with the law. Who Knew?
In California, there is a lot of noncompliance due to ignorance. The state is spectacularly good at passing new restrictions without bothering to inform people that their formerly legally acquired and owned property is now illegal. There is also a pretty fair percentage of noncompliance due to "fuck that." When you continue to create new folds of "illegal" in which to envelop the citizens, eventually the approach fails from noncompliance.
Well said, Featureless.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#15 Post by inomaha » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:49 pm

Typical statistics.

What's the true scope of ghost guns? First you need to figure out which "guns recovered by ATF" were actually used in crimes. Then realize that 70% of the guns recovered by the ATF have serial numbers. Then compare the crimes solved because of the serial numbers; or if those guns are also ghost guns for all intents and purposes due to lack of ownership background.

So are ghost guns a problem? If there are 1,000,000 guns and 10 used in a crime; are 7 serial numbered and 3 ghost. Or is only 1 recovered by the ATF with .7 serial numbered and .3 ghost, or is the "recovered by ATF" gun never used in a crime; outside of the gun not being registered? Changing the laws may create a sudden spike in "illegal activity" that has nothing to do with overall public safety.

Statistics, huh, you can use them to make things sound way different then reality. I would start with defining the number of guns in the state versus the number used in crimes. Then take that small number and realize serial numbered and ghosts are subsets of it.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#16 Post by TrueTexan » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:17 pm

inomaha wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:49 pm
Typical statistics.

What's the true scope of ghost guns? First you need to figure out which "guns recovered by ATF" were actually used in crimes. Then realize that 70% of the guns recovered by the ATF have serial numbers. Then compare the crimes solved because of the serial numbers; or if those guns are also ghost guns for all intents and purposes due to lack of ownership background.

So are ghost guns a problem? If there are 1,000,000 guns and 10 used in a crime; are 7 serial numbered and 3 ghost. Or is only 1 recovered by the ATF with .7 serial numbered and .3 ghost, or is the "recovered by ATF" gun never used in a crime; outside of the gun not being registered? Changing the laws may create a sudden spike in "illegal activity" that has nothing to do with overall public safety.

Statistics, huh, you can use them to make things sound way different then reality. I would start with defining the number of guns in the state versus the number used in crimes. Then take that small number and realize serial numbered and ghosts are subsets of it.
The ATF has no idea how many guns there are in the US. Think of all the guns manufactured since say 1900. I’m using 1900 as a starting point with the use of modern smokeless powder. Some of us can remember when you could buy guns by mail or in your local hardware store without any registration. Also how many guns have come back to the US from our overseas wars. I have a S&W model 10 S&W Ctg. pre victory my dad carried during WWII. If the serial number was traced it would show bring given to Aussie Forces under lend lease. Dad acquired it from an Aussie anti aircraft battery that was stationed next to his bomber base in Italy. Many other guns were brought back as trophies and are sitting in closets attics and basements around the country. Also many GIs kept their sidearms when discharge and the military didn’t care. During Vietnam many arms including M-16s M-3 Grease guns were brought back after being listed as battle loses along with AK -47s during the early and middle part of the war. How many guns have been handed down in families?

So any ideas of how many guns we have in the US is just a wild eyed guess.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#17 Post by Bullitt68 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:22 pm

Vietnam warriors used to ship back AKs and all other sorts of weapons in pieces. That could be a lie I don't know anything.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#18 Post by shinzen » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:34 am

Bisbee wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:49 pm
featureless wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:54 pm
BKinzey wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:38 am
Yes, criminals aren't complying with the law. Who Knew?
In California, there is a lot of noncompliance due to ignorance. The state is spectacularly good at passing new restrictions without bothering to inform people that their formerly legally acquired and owned property is now illegal. There is also a pretty fair percentage of noncompliance due to "fuck that." When you continue to create new folds of "illegal" in which to envelop the citizens, eventually the approach fails from noncompliance.
Well said, Featureless.
Yep. Absolutely nailed it. They could be spending time and money on effective violence prevention programs, but instead are up in arms about this stuff.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#19 Post by CDFingers » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:17 am

The advantage of the serial number is to trace ownership. Which is not good if you're a bad guy.

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#20 Post by awshoot » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:04 pm

YankeeTarheel wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:24 am
I have no problem with making ghost guns illegal, and requiring one-off guns made by enthusiasts to be registered.
But it's not much different than making heroin illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess. ...
I have a problem with it. One of the reasons to make a personal firearm is to not get on a list. The only thing a list is good for, is confiscation, and there is no way anyone manufacturing weapons for sale illegally, is going to self-identify that way. When a crime happens and the police find a gun, knowing that Ruger made it is of what value exactly? If a "ghostgun" is found, even if DIY enthusiasts have to register, all the authorities will have is an unserialized firearm made by someone willing to break the law who won't be on their list. Nothing changes with registration except for the ease of future confiscation from law abiding citizens.

Secondly, show me the amendment in the BoR which protects opiates. The comparison is apples to oranges.

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#21 Post by highdesert » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:54 am

And another "ghost gun" surfaced on Monday in Riverside. A traffic stop by a CHP officer on a motorcycle, perp pulled out a rifle described as an "AR-15 type" rifle with no serial number. Riverside City police and Riverside County deputies responded to the shootout just off I-215 during commute time not far from the UC, Riverside campus. Three CHP were shot, one fatally and the perp was killed. Criminals get around CA and fed gun purchase laws, they build their own.

A bystander took a cellphone video of the perp stalking the CHP vehicle.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#22 Post by senorgrand » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:25 am

10 minutes with a dremel turns a serialed gun into a ghost gun...criminals have been doing that for decades.
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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#23 Post by featureless » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:36 pm

senorgrand wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:25 am
10 minutes with a dremel turns a serialed gun into a ghost gun...criminals have been doing that for decades.
Or just buying a stolen gun from another criminal who stole it form someone's house to scratch up the funds for their next fix. Something like 80% of guns used in crimes are stolen. No law's going to stop that.

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Re: 30% of guns recovered by ATF in CA are ghost guns

#24 Post by highdesert » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:15 pm

featureless wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:36 pm
senorgrand wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:25 am
10 minutes with a dremel turns a serialed gun into a ghost gun...criminals have been doing that for decades.
Or just buying a stolen gun from another criminal who stole it form someone's house to scratch up the funds for their next fix. Something like 80% of guns used in crimes are stolen. No law's going to stop that.
Yup, many ways to ghost a firearm. And a community gun could have multiple crimes on it before it's disappeared or someone drops it off at a gun turn it. CA's stupid layer on top of layer of gun laws reminds me of those dumb Reps in the forefront of the drug war and three strikes laws so they could look tough on crime and forgot that someone had to pay for all that incarceration.
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