Yesterday afternoon, the Department of Justice published a rule on ‘ghost guns,’ which follows from a promise made by Joe that he was going to require more regulation of these particular types of adult toys. Want to build a coffee table for your living room? Go over to Home Depot, buy some wood and maybe some shellac, make sure you have a hammer and nails sitting around in the garage, and you’re good to go.

              Want to build your own Glock? Go on the internet, do a google for ‘build a Glock’ and you’ll come up with website after website that will sell you all the necessary parts. They’ll also send you directions for putting the parts together, drilling a couple of holes in the frame to fit the screws, and in a couple of hours you own a Glock.

              What’s the difference between the new coffee table you stuck in front of the couch as opposed to the new Glock you built and now keep under a pillow on the couch?  The difference, legally speaking, is that there is no difference, because both items were made by you for your own, personal use.

              On the other hand, if you hold a tag sale to get rid of some of your household junk, you might get a few bucks for the coffee table. But if you give or sell the Glock to anyone else, and the gun is traced back to you, there’s a good chance you’ll get convicted of a federal felony, and that’s no fun even if you don’t go to jail.

              Ever since the feds passed their first gun law in 1934, the concept and practice of assigning a unique serial number to every, single manufactured or imported gun has taken on almost mythical proportions for aiding cops in their unending fight against crime. And who’s ever going to argue against helping the cops fight crime?

              There’s only one little problem with this reverential concern for putting serial numbers on guns, namely, since we don’t have any kind of system for registering guns, the odds that the serial number of a gun will help the cops solve a violent crime range from zero to none.

              The ATF loves to pat itself on the back about the hundreds of thousands of gun traces it does every year, in 2019 alone they claim to have used serial numbers to trace 450,000 ‘crime’ guns. In fact, most of those traces, probably at least 80%, had nothing to do with crimes at all. And even if the ATF actually ran traces on 90,000 real ‘crime’ guns, I notice they never give out a number for how many of those traces result in somebody getting arrested for committing a crime.

              The new rule published yesterday by the DOJ requires that any federally licensed gun dealer who sells a ‘ghost’ kit must first log the kit into his Acquisition & Disposition book, give the kit a unique serial number and require that the buyer fill out a 4473 form and pass a background check. The same rule will apply to a licensed gunsmith who repairs a kit.

              So, the DOJ has just given the ATF some more work, ditto the NICS call center run by the FBI. Nobody has any idea about the actual number of ghost guns that are floating around, but the DOJ justifies this new rule, in part, by noting that between 2016 and 2020, the ATF received 23,906 reports of guns without serial numbers being connected to crimes. How many of those guns were given serial numbers by manufacturers and then the numbers were rubbed off? Who knows?

              The FBI estimates that somewhere around 300,000 guns are stolen every year. That’s 1.5 million guns that disappeared during the same timeframe that 24,000 ghost guns were picked up by the cops. Between homicides, aggravated assaults and armed robberies, there are probably 150,000 serious crimes committed each year with serialized guns.

              Want to use an elephant to swat a fly? Just tell the ATF to come up with a new rule for regulating guns. They’ll wheel out the elephant every time.

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