San Antonio

ATF prepares for ghost gun rule change in hopes of reducing violent crime

SAN ANTONIO – A rule change for cracking down on ghost weapons comes with the hope of reducing violent crime, however not everybody believes this will probably be efficient.

Nearly a month in the past, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a rule to rein in ghost weapons.

According to a White House release, “There were approximately 20,000 suspected ghost guns reported to ATF as having been recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations – a ten-fold increase from 2016.”

The lack of serial numbers makes it arduous for legislation enforcement to hint if that gun was used in a crime.

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“Privately made firearm, which is a PMF, is often called a ghost gun because it’s not marked with a serial number,” mentioned Melissa Garcia, the general public data officer for ATF Houston Field Division.

Garcia mentioned ATF is gearing as much as implement adjustments quickly.

“Require markings, including a serial number, so that their firearms can be traced if recovered by law enforcement. And it also requires a background check to be completed before a partially completed firearm or firearms kits can be sold,” Garcia mentioned.

The rule replace would additionally replace the definition of a firearm to incorporate kits and unfinished firearms and receivers.

According to San Antonio Police Department information, there have been 62 homicides to this point this year. That’s up from 49 this time final year.

National information from ATF reveals between January 2016 and December 2021, 45,000 reviews of suspected ghost weapons have been recovered by legislation enforcement. Of these, 692 have been used in homicides or robberies.

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In San Antonio, precise numbers are arduous to get, however traits are clear.

“There’s definitely been an increase,” Garcia mentioned.

Lone Star Handgun president Josh Felker doesn’t assume this rule change is the answer to reducing violent crime.

“A criminal is all of the sudden they can’t get or manufacture their own gun in the house or steal it from somebody else. There’s millions and millions and millions of guns out there,” Felker mentioned.

Felker mentioned a gun with a serial quantity might be made untraceable by submitting it off.

As this rule change rolls out, KSAT has gotten questions relating to firearms with its serial numbers filed off.

Garcia mentioned “If a firearm serial number has been altered or destroyed in any way, that’s simply considered a firearm with intent iterated serial number. And that’s unlawful for any person to possess or receive any firearm which has a serial number removed or obliterated or altered.”

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He mentioned Lone Star Handgun conducts background checks, however coping with a stolen firearm could be tough.

“If I were to be able to go quickly online and go, Hey, this gun was stolen, you’re a criminal or you’re dealing with a stolen firearm. No, I’m…I buy it. We hope that it’s not stolen,” Felker mentioned.

The rule adjustments for ghost weapons don’t go into impact till August.

Senator Ted Cruz and 21 others launched a Congressional Review Act Joint Resolution of Disapproval to try to block the adjustments.

Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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