What the left gets wrong about ‘ghost guns’ | Opinion
The spike in crime has nothing to do with firearms enthusiasts building guns in their garages and home workshops.
Citing the need to curtail rising crime rates, President Joe Biden recently announced a final rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The chief objects of the president’s wrath are so-called “ghost guns” — a made-up, pejorative term that anti-gun leftists use to refer to homemade firearms.
These guns have been legal and unregulated since the time of the Pilgrims. But long before the president’s announcement, Pennsylvania Democrats were already pushing six “ghost gun” bills that would make privately made firearms illegal.
In the announcement of these regulations, Vice President Kamala Harris said that “ghost guns pose an especially grave threat to the safety of our communities.” That claim is demonstrably false.
According to the Department of Justice, privately made firearms were found at 692 homicide or attempted homicide crime scenes over a six-year period. That means that, at worst, out of more than 16,000 yearly murders, homemade guns are used in around 115 homicides per year. That’s far fewer murders than many common items that are easily found around one’s house — such as knives (1,476), hammers or blunt objects (397), or fists and feet (600).
So why isn’t the Biden administration trying to regulate those objects?
The answer is that this president is not as interested in protecting public safety as much as he wants to implement a radical gun control regime. The new ATF rule could incarcerate gun owners for committing nonviolent, highly technical violations of complex and unconstitutional laws while doing nothing about the rising number of crimes committed by real criminals.
For two years, the anti-gun left has looked the other way while rioters destroyed cities, attacked civilians, and assaulted law enforcement officers. The president’s allies in leftist cities — including Philadelphia — began releasing criminals early from jail and defunding the police where they were needed the most.
Predictably, the murder rate, which had been on a downward trend for over 20 years, spiked. In fact, 12 Democratic-controlled cities from Philadelphia to Portland, Ore., broke homicide records last year. These are 12 cities where leaders have coddled criminals, yet inexplicably, did everything possible to discourage law-abiding individuals who merely wish to exercise their Second Amendment-protected rights. Philadelphia was no exception.
The spike in crime across our country is the result of the failed leadership and the social policies of left-wing radicals. It has nothing to do with firearms enthusiasts building guns in their garages and home workshops.
The anti-gun left may try to demonize these firearms by referring to them as “ghost guns.” But the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of honest gun owners today are making their own legal guns — and virtually none of these guns will be used in any crime.
The White House claims that serializing firearms is necessary to stop criminals, but in reality, there is no evidence that registering firearms — or stamping them with serial numbers — prevents crime. Virtually every gun used in a crime already has a serial number.
So why has Joe Biden declared war on legal gun owners? In a word: control.
Serialization is not designed to stop criminals. It’s intended to register the law-abiding, which history shows is the first step toward confiscation. And if you don’t think confiscation could ever occur in this country, just recall Beto O’Rourke yelling: “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!”
The double standards by the anti-gun left are breathtaking. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was at the Rose Garden ceremony, applauding the president’s restrictions on homemade firearms. Never mind that Shapiro’s office has been accused of illegally transferring a homemade gun to a television journalist preparing a story on the issue without conducting a background check; that would violate both state and federal law. Shapiro has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the allegation was “ludicrous on its face.” The transfer was made to facilitate an NBC News report on a local supplier of P80 kits.
With the anti-gun left, we constantly see “rules for thee but not for me.” The Biden administration openly admitted that he ordered this “ghost gun” regulation because he “was having trouble getting [gun control] passed in the Congress.” That is lawless and anti-constitutional behavior. The president is not a king who can issue decrees on a whim.
In our system of government, Congress makes the laws. Gun Owners of America will be working with pro-gun representatives and senators to overrule this unconstitutional decree.
Erich Pratt is the senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, a national grassroots organization representing more than two million gun owners. @erichmpratt