Ghost Stories:
Joe Biden’s ‘Ghost Gun’
Scheme Under Fire

35

When Joe Biden announced last month the “final rule to rein in the proliferation” of so-called “ghost guns,” he did what he’s so good at whenever talking about guns; he kicked a hornet’s nest.

“Ghost Guns” are firearms allegedly home-manufactured from kits and un-serialized parts purchased by people who either shouldn’t have guns or by people who sell such guns to the same disqualified people.

In the debate about so-called “ghost guns,” anti-gunners want all components
serialized, possibly like this primary fire control assembly created by Sig Sauer
for its P-250 pistol. (Dave Workman)

Home gunsmiths have been building their own firearms for generations. But Biden and his administration have chosen to treat such people like criminals, apparently because some criminals have been using such guns. Criminals use cars, too, but the administration hasn’t decided to treat all motorists like Bonnie and Clyde.

Biden’s plan could be headed for trouble if it hasn’t already arrived by the time you read this. Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation—the group responsible for the lion’s share of gun rights litigation over the past few years—told me via email within hours of Biden’s press event announcing the new rules, SAF attorneys were already looking at legal action.

“We do not believe that the Biden Administration has the legal authority to redefine what a gun is,” Gottlieb wrote. “Only Congress has that authority. This is a blatant attempt to usurp the constitution. Our attorneys are exploring a lawsuit.”

Choking Regulation

The White House simplified the administration’s final rule: “This final rule bans the business of manufacturing the most accessible ghost guns, such as unserialized ‘buy build shoot’ kits that individuals can buy online or at a store without a background check and can readily assemble into a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes with equipment they have at home. This rule clarifies that these kits qualify as ‘firearms’ under the Gun Control Act, and that commercial manufacturers of such kits must therefore become licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, and commercial sellers of these kits must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to a sale—just like they have to do with other commercially-made firearms.”

Will major components henceforth require serial numbers,
such as this pistol slide? (Dave Workman)

The final rule includes a plan to serialize such guns, whether owners want to or not.

“The final rule will also help turn some ghost guns already in circulation into serialized firearms,” the White House explained. “Through this rule, the Justice Department is requiring federally licensed dealers and gunsmiths taking any unserialized firearm into inventory to serialize that weapon. For example, if an individual builds a firearm at home and then sells it to a pawnbroker or another federally licensed dealer, that dealer must put a serial number on the weapon before selling it to a customer. This requirement will apply regardless of how the firearm was made, meaning it includes ghost guns made from individual parts, kits, or by 3D-printers.”

Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA spokesman whose name it took me years to pronounce correctly and he’s a friend of mine, reacted like everyone else when Biden announced the “final rule.”

“An administration that’s truly sincere and resolute about curbing violent crime rates would do one thing: take violent criminals off the streets immediately,” Arulanandam said. “Yet, the Biden administration allows these criminals who kill and maim with callous and reckless abandon, again and again, to roam the streets of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and other cities large and small across our country without fear of prosecution and punishment.

“Americans know the lenient bail system and the revolving door justice system supported and perpetrated by the Biden administration and other leaders who support soft-on-criminal policies are the problem,” he added.

“However … the president unveils yet another hollow plan that will not stop this violence,” Arulanandam concluded. “His gun control actions will undoubtedly hearten his wealthy gun control supporters. But, this action sends the wrong message to violent criminals, because this ‘ban’ will not affect them. These violent crime sprees will continue unabated until they are arrested, prosecuted and punished.”

Likewise, the National Shooting Sports Foundation released this statement: “NSSF is …closely monitoring the submission of the Final Rule by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to redefine frames and receivers, which would significantly alter the sale and possession of not only personally-made firearms (PFMs) but numerous other types and models as well. NSSF will review the Final Rule carefully to see if DOJ listened and took into consideration the industry’s comments that were submitted. As proposed, this rule radically alters the manufacturing and compliance processes for manufacturers of traditional firearms, not just the making of incomplete, unfinished parts Congress has not chosen to regulate.”

Keep this in perspective: If this thing winds up in federal court, it will likely take the scenic route through the Twilight Zone.

Maybe the Real Problem…

By no small coincidence, about the same time Biden was making his big announcement, the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia was making a smaller one.

Seems several people, including a fellow identified as “an Atlanta rapper” were charged with “running a straw purchase scheme,” according to Fox News and a report from the Justice Department. Eleven people in all—half from Georgia and the rest from Pennsylvania—were charged.

We’re talking gun trafficking and conspiracy to deal firearms without a license. Some of these folks have very colorful nicknames, including “Chizzy,” “Mars,” Peppito,” “Lant,” and “Rock.” They were allegedly involved in an effort to run guns from Georgia north to people in the Philadelphia area. They probably won’t be doing that again, or at least for a long time.

Or look far north to Eastern Washington, where KIMA News reported the arrest of a guy for attempted murder on a $500,000 warrant. The suspect allegedly shot another fellow back on March 4 in Yakima.

Surprise of surprises, the report said the suspect in this case “is a 10-time convicted felon who lured the victim out of the house to shoot him intentionally.”

Remembering what NRA’s Arulanandam said above about revolving justice, anybody with 10 felony convictions, a) wasn’t supposed to have a gun and, or, b) shouldn’t have been out of jail, anyway. Well, he’s back inside, at least for the time being.

But, At least…

In a separate caper we’re not sure what the intention was, Fox News reported about a Florida gent who was arrested at a traffic stop in Naples and found to have something in the car unusual even for an alleged drug perp.

In addition to a couple of firearms and “two loaded syringes” that later “tested positive for methamphetamine,” according to the report, police also found an alligator. If you remember “Miami Vice” from 35 years ago, Don Johnson’s “Sonny Crockett” character lived on a sailboat with a ‘gator named Elvis.

This year’s misadventure involved a baby alligator, resting in “an open plastic tub.” Florida game cops got to take care of the little reptile, and we couldn’t resist looking up “alligator” online. We learned an alligator is “a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. Bet you wanted to know that.

That small black spot in the upper right is a wolf silhouette at 175 yards,
which Dave will be blasting in the upcoming, and possibly final, long-range
memorial handgun shoot named in honor of the late Elmer Keith.

On an Unhappy Note

Early next month, I’m planning to be in the farm country southwest from Spokane for the 20th “Elmer Keith Memorial Long Range Handgun Invitational” shoot, and the organizer of this event advised shooters this might be the finale.

This heartbreaking announcement could spell the end of a gathering which has brought some top long-range handgun shooters from all over the Northwest together for a day of noisy fun, prizes and fund-raising. This year, proceeds are being earmarked either for the NRA Foundation or the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

When something is named in memory of the “father of long-range handgunning,” it’s worth being invited. These events have been interrupted only by the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years.

In the past, I’ve rolled in late in the afternoon, just in time to join in a little conversation, and then to sleep comfortably inside my pickup truck in the closed canopy. I’ve never slept so comfortably in a sleeping bag on a 4-inch foam pad on a short cot, with a small transistor radio playing music softly through the night.

Headed for possibly one last long range handgun shoot: Dave’s 6-inch Model 57.)

Of course I’ll be shooting with a Model 57 S&W in .41 Magnum, with targets once again placed far out there, to several hundred yards. Elmer could do it, and the rest of us keep trying.

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