The ATF on “ghost guns”

The ATF doesn’t call them “ghost guns” like some prejudiced bigots in the California legislature but they did put out a news release on 80% receivers a few days ago. The worst they said was:

6. Can functioning firearms made from receiver blanks be traced?
ATF successfully traces crime guns to the first retail purchaser in most instances. ATF starts with the manufacturer and goes through the entire chain of distribution to find who first bought the firearm from a licensed dealer.  Because receiver blanks do not have markings or serial numbers, when firearms made from such receiver blanks are found at a crime scene, it is usually not possible to trace the firearm or determine its history, which hinders crime gun investigations jeopardizing public safety.

7. Have firearms made from unmarked receiver blanks been recovered after being used in a crime?
Yes, firearms that began as receiver blanks have been recovered after shooting incidents, from gang members and from prohibited people after they have been used to commit crimes.

They chose their words very carefully. I think it is very telling they don’t give any numbers on how often traces failed and that actually hindered the arrest and conviction of criminals who committed violent crimes. I would not be at all surprised if the number of people arrested for victimless crimes associated with making guns that didn’t quite meet ATF’s regulations drastically exceeds the number of criminals who evaded arrest because of 80% receivers.


9 thoughts on “The ATF on “ghost guns”

  1. That might be a good subject for a FOIA request — to get the numbers behind those intentionally vague assertions.

  2. My follow up to number 7 would be: and do you need both hands to count these instances, or can you use just one?

  3. So far, both the AFT assertions and the counter arguments presuppose that restrictions on guns are intended for the purpose of crime suppression or law enforcement, which they aren’t. Quite the opposite.

    All attempted restrictions on the exercise of second amendment rights, or any other rights, are for the sole purpose of enabling or encouraging crime. All attempted restrictions on rights are themselves crimes, and when the perpetrators say otherwise they are only trying to cover their tracks with silly rationalizations.

    If you choose to become entangled in that dance of insanity, bandying words with criminals and fools, or humoring their dupes, well good luck. Seeing people ostensibly on my side dancing a waltz with ghouls does not engender confidence. I hope you know what you’re doing. Maybe you’ve got some angle I’m not aware of.

    • All that is true. But it’s always good to have more kinds of defense at hand. Being able to point out that the ATF is misleading us can’t hurt.

    • Some people don’t care about our principles but have a principled stance against lying and deception. Pointing out the deception of our enemy can create another enemy for our enemy or at least put strain on their alliance.

  4. Pingback: ATFput out a news release on 80% receivers - The Gun Feed

  5. I seem to recall one instance in California where the rifle used in a shooting was made with a receiver blank, by a criminal, no less. I would say that is in the exception rather than the rule. I started making my AR style rifles from 80% blanks because I do not want any of them on a Government list. I sold my legally purchased DPMS serialized lower awhile back and now have a “Ghost Gun”. In honor of CA State Sen. Kevin “Ghost Gun” DeLeon. And I plan to build 2 more, one in 300BLK and another in 6.8SPC. I just finished the 2 other 80% lowers. In case you are wondering, I have a Concealed Permit AND a C&R FFL03, so there. I also own a handgun, a 1966 .22LR rifle (before serial numbering) and a Mosin Nagant. Unfortunately, those are on a list. Nothing I can do about the Mosin due to my FFL, but I can build a 1911 from a 80% frame and sell my handgun.

    • Then there is the interesting case of the Liberty pistol (the original one, not the 3d printed one), which came from the factory without serial numbers and is mentioned as such in a law enforcement reference book I found online some years ago.

  6. Um. . . *ALL* firearms begin as “unmarked receiver blanks”, with the exception of Title II (NFA) “firearms” made from existing “firearms”.

    You do NOT (even as an FFL manufacturer) have to mark a receiver until it is completed, and generally they are not so marked until after they pass the point where ATF would consider them to be “receivers”, because it’s easier to keep the paperwork straight if you scrap one for flaws near the end of production if it hasn;t been serialized yet. (God help you if ATF finds two or more guns from the same manufacturer with the same serial number!)

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