Both NBC & the NRA missed the point about building “Ghost Guns”
While I did appreciate a report by the NRA that debunked NBC’s claim that criminals buy gun parts online and can easily assemble them to build an untraceable “ghost gun,” neither NBC nor the NRA got at the root of the issue and that is the Second Amendment does not allow for government to track, trace, regulate or restrict our right to keep and bear arms. That includes buying and making them.
First, take a look at the report by NBC reporter Jeff Rossen.
The NRA, via Guns in the News, did a great job of debunking Rossen’s story as “fake news.”
NBC shipped those AR-15 parts to a former ATF agent with a substantial machine shop. Though his lathe, mill and drill press are plainly visible in the video, NBC shows him using only a hand drill.
This is fake news at its worst: Converting an 80 percent completed lower receiver into a reliable, functioning firearm component requires machine tools working to exacting tolerances. The majority of these builds involve a CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) milling machine. Such machines cannot be borrowed or rented for the purpose; nor can owners of these machines be hired to do the work. Therefore, rifle builders must own the machine to legally complete the project. Even so, further refinements are often required to make a working rifle.
However, Rossen claims, “It takes him just a couple of hours to put it together.” NRA’s American Rifleman tells a different story: “… Most folks want to know how long it takes to build an AR. The time varies based on a builder’s preparations, their skill level and the features of the rifle. A supplier I talked to on the phone, who builds ARs as a hobby, said he has it down to about a four-hour process. For my first time out, with everything already in place, it took about seven hours from start to finish.” … NBC shipped those AR-15 parts to a former ATF agent with a substantial machine shop. Though his lathe, mill and drill press are plainly visible in the video, NBC shows him using only a hand drill.
That’s an experienced gun journalist, from arguably the world’s foremost authority on firearms, working with a completed, serialized lower receiver. Starting with an 80 percent lower receiver, as NBC did, multiplies time to completion exponentially. It’s plainly obvious that the skills, tools and funds to build a working AR from a hunk of metal are far beyond those of any 22-year-old gangbanger.
And why would he want to, anyway? Handguns, not rifles, are overwhelmingly the firearms of choice for criminals because they are cheaper and easier to conceal. Yet NBC doesn’t let that inconvenient fact interfere with its fear-mongering.
Rossen blithely refers to “ghost guns being used across the country, from Maryland to California.” However, FBI data consistently proves rifles of all kinds are used in less than 2 percent of U.S. homicides. AR-15 usage in crime is so rare that the FBI doesn’t even bother to track it. Furthermore, Rossen’s “ghost guns” comprise just a tiny percentage of those AR-15s, making their usage in crime infinitesimal.
Back to NBC’s “Ghost Gun” build: At the range, Rossen’s ATF gunsmith fires exactly two rounds before exclaiming, “It works great!” Call us skeptical, but experts agree that home-built firearms are notoriously fussy until the kinks are worked out. What are the odds that NBC’s criminal rifle builders are going to get it right the first time? For that matter, if NBC’s “ghost gun” could have fired a full magazine, don’t you think they would have shown that?
There is more to the debunking, but you’ll have to check out the article for that.
The one thing missing in the piece is the simple question, what does it matter? So what if someone could purchase the parts and “easily assemble” it into a trustworthy firearm for use? Isn’t that part of the protections of the Second Amendment?
The issue our founders faced was attempts by tyrants to regulate and eventually confiscate their weapons. That’s why they wrote the Second Amendment. It’s fine if gun manufacturers want to put serial numbers on their guns in the event they have to apply their gunsmith profession to work on those guns, but having government be so hawkish over arms is a dangerous thing. Just ask the people of Nazi Germany.
I’m glad the NRA at least pointed out that the gangbangers referenced here often use handguns rather than rifles, but still, it simply shows the lack of logic from those opposed to the God-given rights of the people to keep and bear arms. They simply want to scare you into their agenda. Well, it’s having the opposite effect.
While I’m grateful the NRA debunked the story, I hope they will not continue down the road of compromise concerning the Second Amendment that they have been involved with over the years. Perhaps, the rise of other pro-Second Amendment groups is presenting a bit of check and balance on them. For that, I’m grateful.