Call for more regulation – NBC Boston

Despite having some of the strictest gun laws in the country, the number of ghost guns in Massachusetts is growing.

Ghost guns are manufactured firearms. Their individual parts are sold in kits that can be assembled at home. Once assembled, they function like any conventional firearm.

What makes ghost guns unique and makes them even more dangerous in the eyes of law enforcement is that, until recently, the parts were sold without serial numbers, making them impossible for law enforcement to track. Additionally, these kits can be purchased without a license, making it available to people who would otherwise be prohibited from owning firearms.

“You don’t need a license to own a gun. The reality is that it can’t be a gun until it’s assembled and ready to fire. But by then, it’s too late,” said the state congressman. Democrat from Natick People David Linsky. “This is a big problem.”

The popularity and popularity of ghost guns has risen across the United States for much of the past decade. Law enforcement agencies, especially in metropolitan areas, report a steady rise in their use for crime.

From 2016 to 2021, law enforcement agencies reported more than 45,000 ghost gun recoveries to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), according to gun control advocacy group Brady.

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said: “When officers stop someone or look for something else, the number of these types of firearms really increases dramatically.”

Ryan said her first encounter with a ghost gun was seven years ago, when a 13-year-old made one at home using a 3D printer. She said the challenge for law enforcement and prosecutors is to trace their origin because they don’t have serial numbers.

“You’re using it in a crime, and there’s no way we could track it down,” she said. “You can leave the gun on the scene. We really can’t take it anywhere because it doesn’t have a serial number.”

A recent spate of shootings in Boston has led many to call for more guns to be taken from the streets, but some of those weapons are very difficult for police to trace.

Despite Massachusetts’ strict gun regulation, Lynskey said the proliferation of ghost guns across the federal government is due to loopholes in the law.

“If you’re just buying the parts and not the assembled gun, you’re going to lose the parts buying,” Lynskey said. “Without going through any kind of licensing process, any kind of background check process, [people prohibited from possessing a firearm] Under current law, it is possible to legally obtain the parts for making firearms and put them together. “

The Boston Police Department has seen a nearly 80 percent increase in the number of ghost guns found in the past three years, according to data obtained through an open records request. In 2019, police seized 15 ghost guns. 23 were restored in 2020 and 58 in 2021.

Guns and gun fragments on table as evidence in police investigation

Boston Police Department

A photo from the Boston Police Department’s Ghost Gun Factory was blown up in May.

As of September, police have recovered 79 ghost guns. Most of the guns were seized in May when they were seized at a suspected gun factory in Dorchester.

Gun control advocacy groups say Boston’s numbers are not surprising. Ghost guns are most prevalent in large cities in states with strict gun laws, according to the Giffords Law Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence.

“Think Los Angeles, think New York, think Boston. In those areas, it’s very difficult for traffickers to get guns through more traditional means because there are strict gun laws. So, they turn to these ghost gun products and avoid all these legal ramifications. ,” said David Pucino, deputy general counsel at the Giffords Law Centre.

Gun control groups have been pushing the ATF to tighten regulations on manufacturers and sellers. They scored a major victory in August, when the Biden administration implemented new rules requiring ghost gun kits to include serial numbers and mandating background checks on buyers. The changes are not enough, Pucino said, which is why he is urging states to act.

“There are some things this federal regulation won’t do. The main thing is that it doesn’t address the existing ghost gun inventory. It specifies the parts that go into making ghost guns, but for those private hands where the existing guns are being done, they simply don’t affected,” Pucino said. “We need our state law to say that if you have a gun that doesn’t have a serial number, go out and get one.

Manufacturers and gun rights groups have challenged the new rules in court. They argue that the new rules violate the Second Amendment and that compliance with the same laws that regulate traditional gun makers would put them out of business.

“I think it’s a public acknowledgment that their business practices, their entire industry, are built on circumventing these regulations,” Pucino said.

For less than $100, you can buy all the parts for the Ghost Gun, an untraceable firearm made from parts without serial numbers. The Biden administration plans to crack down on ghost guns, which make up a small but growing proportion of guns seized at crime scenes. The fact that ghost guns are made shows that gun laws are weak or easily circumvented, said Vanderbilt University professor and author Jonathan Metzl. “We have gun laws, and then we have big loopholes where you can drive any size truck through them,” he told LX News.

The federal government prevailed in several cases, but in early September a federal judge upheld the Florida manufacturer’s argument that the ATF “unlawfully treats weapon parts kits as firearms.”

Lynskey is pushing his own bill in the state legislature. It will require parts to be serial numbered before leaving the factory, have licensing requirements for sellers, and conduct background checks on buyers.For him, without stricter rules, every day is a missed opportunity to save lives

“Whether it’s made in a gun factory or in someone’s home, putting the same parts together, they’re the same. They’re the same gun,” he said.

“It did the same damage. It killed the same people.”

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