Yesterday I received the latest and greatest newsletter from our friends at The Trace, and what caught my eye was an article about ‘ghost guns,’ which have become something of a talking-point on both sides of the gun debate. In case you don’t know, a ‘ghost gun’ is a gun without a serial number, which means if it is picked up by the cops it can’t be traced. Why don’t ‘ghost guns’ have serial numbers? Because thanks to the use of polymer in the manufacture of gun frames, it’s not all that difficult to buy the frame, buy the parts that go into the frame, then put the whole thing together and you have a gun.
For Gun-nut Nation, guns that don’t have serial numbers can’t be necessarily connected to any particular owner, and since the 2nd-Amendment gang believes they have a ‘right’ to own guns without any government regulation at all, why not start off with a gun that can’t be traced? As for our friends on the other side, the gun-control side, if a gun doesn’t have a serial number it usually means that someone who can’t buy a legal gun can instead use a ‘ghost gun’ to do whatever he decides to do with a gun.
To tell you the truth, I find this entire discussion stupid beyond belief. Why? Because it has next to nothing to do with the problem we need to solve which is this: How do we stop 90,000+ young men, ages 16 – 30, mostly minority, mostly poor, mostly living in what is politely referred to as ‘underserved’ neighborhoods, from picking up a gun, pointing it at someone else and blasting away? This type of behavior happens to account for 80% or more of all gun violence, and it has nothing to do with ‘ghost’ guns at all.
What have we done to solve gun violence? Not very much. We’ve passed ‘red flag’ laws in some blue states, we have passed comprehensive background checks here and there, we have even banned wannabee assault rifles in Communist states like Massachusetts and New York. Know what happened in Colorado after comprehensive background checks were required starting in 2014? Gun-violence deaths went up from 651 to 873. Know what happened to gun homicides in New York after the SAFE ACT was passed in 2014? Gun murders went down from 372 to 356. Big deal.
Our friend Ruth Abaya is an ER pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a.k.a., CHOP. The City of Brotherly Love had more homicides and shootings in 2019 than any year since 2010. So Dr. Abaya and her colleagues know something about guns. And last year they published research which found that 15% of ER patients, ages 19 and below, said they could get their hands on a gun in 24 hours or less.
Now why do you think these kids might want to get their hands on a gun? Think they want to go out in the woods and bring back Bambi to plop into Momma’s stew? Think they want to go down to the local gun club and take part in next week’s Turkey Shoot? Or maybe they’ll trade the gun for an i-Phone or a new pair of Air Jordan XXXIV shoes.
If you think these kids are all walking around or even thinking of walking around with a ‘ghost’ gun, think again. Why bother to buy a polymer frame, then buy the parts, then buy the tools you need to assemble the damn thing, when you can just go out into the street and buy one of the millions of stolen or misplaced guns that are floating around?
Want to do something serious to reduce gun violence? Stop screwing around and inventing yet another reason to be so concerned. Do what we all know needs to be done. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s simple. Just get rid of the guns.