SPD: 24 ghost guns recovered so far this year, compared to just 3 during same period last year

The Seattle Police Department recovered 161 firearms in March, according to Chief Adrian Diaz, which he said is the third-highest number of guns officers have recovered in the last decade.

Diaz said during Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting with Seattle City Council members that an increasing number of those guns are turning out to be ghost guns. Ghost guns are usually made from individual parts, kits or by a 3D printer. 

So far this year, 24 of the guns recovered are untraceable ghost guns, according to Diaz. He said this same time last year, officers had only recovered three of these types of privately made guns.

"What we’re seeing is just an immense amount of guns that are on the streets," said Diaz. "We are seeing an increased amount of ghost guns that are affecting and being used in our communities."

This week, President Joe Biden announced a new federal rule for ghost guns, which would require unfinished parts of a firearm to be licensed and serialized, and manufacturers would be required to run background checks.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility in Washington State said it builds on the progress that’s been made in our state. This past legislative session, state lawmakers passed a law on ghost guns that goes into effect this summer

"It prohibits the manufacture, assembly, sale and transfer of untraceable undetectable ghost guns," said Kristen Ellingboe, communications manager for the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. "Ghost guns are untraceable firearms that make it really easy for anyone, including people who are prohibited from owning a firearm, even children, from buying these weapons and assembling them at home."

Ellingboe said the state law would also establish standards requiring markings on these kinds of firearms.

Dave Workman of GunMag.com and Liberty Park Press believes these latest rounds of regulation won’t solve the historic increase in violent crimes impacting communities.

"You’re not focusing on the right thing, which is the bad guy committing the crime. It demonizes a firearm, which really is an inanimate object," said Workman. "You want to prosecute the person, not the firearm, and that’s where I think this plan is going to fall short."

The Justice Department said nationally, 24,000 ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement between 2016 and 2020, but it’s hard to actually know how many of these guns are circulating because they are untraceable.

The Seattle Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the number of privately made guns recovered in the last few years has increased, but not exponentially.

Workman said the Second Amendment Foundation and other gun rights organizations are expected to legally challenge Biden’s federal rule on ghost guns.

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