BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The Supreme Court is reinstating a regulation aimed at reining in ghost guns, firearms without serial numbers, as they are being increasingly encountered in nationwide crime cases.
According to recent figures from the ATF, the number of “ghost guns” recovered more than doubled from 2020 to 2021. Police say ghost guns aren’t more dangerous than a regular gun from a shop because they work and fire the same way, but what makes a ghost gun difficult is that it’s not able to be easily traced without a serial number.
“I really wish everybody would focus on the criminal and not worry so much about what gun they have,” Calera Police Chief and former ATF agent David Hyche said.
Hyche says people are too focused on defining what a firearm is and what qualifies a gun in different categories.
“It’s confusing. Even some people with ATF can’t tell you the definition of a pistol or what shoulder stock is legal,” Hyche said. “I honestly think we need to stop worrying so much about what type of gun it is and really focus on taking violent criminals off the street that are using firearms.”
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says ghost guns have become a great option for gun traffickers since they can build the weapon and sell it without a paper trail.
“Now all those transactions would be illegal because to sell guns you’ve got to be a licensed gun dealer but these traffickers obviously don’t care about that and they put the guns out on the street and so you have as a result more illegal guns, more guns being sold on the black market and that’s a huge risk,” David Pucino, deputy chief counsel for Giffords Law Center, said. “We know a lot of gun violence is driven by guns that are obtained in those illegal sales.”
The group Bama Carry says though there are a lot of shootings happening, ghost guns don’t seem to be where the weapons are coming from.
“When you look at where most of these guns come from, people leave them in their vehicles unlocked or even if they just bust the glass out of the window and steal it,” Paul Arnold, vice president of Bama Carry, said.
Giffords Law Center says while the appeal is reviewed, the regulations will stand but that the Supreme Court could see a full review of this case from an additional appeal from the losing party in the coming months.