Emerging Dangers

CBS' 60 Minutes Runs Major Segment on Ghost Guns; Sounds Alarm


If you're a regular visitor to our website, you know that we've been calling on Sacramento to aggressively address the problem of ghost guns. A majority of gun buyers go through the normal process of purchasing a fully built firearm from a federally licensed firearm dealer. Others purchase a used gun from a private seller who themselves purchased the complete firearm from a dealer. But there is another type of purchaser out there, purchasers who intentionally seek out a firearm that is unserialized and untraceable, otherwise known as a ghost gun. We've put together a short explainer on the problem. We're thrilled that the issue is gaining attention.

60 Minutes: "As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through the country, panic and fear have caused a run on hand sanitizer, toilet paper and guns. Retailers tell us they have never seen such a surge in firearms sales. One kind of weapon that has been selling out is a build-it-yourself firearm known as a ghost gun because it skirts most federal gun laws. There's no background check and no serial number, making ghost guns invisible to police and almost impossible to trace when used in a crime. We were surprised that it's all perfectly legal. After a year and a half of reporting, we discovered that ghost guns, once mainly popular with gun enthusiasts, have also become a weapon of choice for criminals, manufactured by gangs and used in mass shootings."

Ghost gun parts can be used to fabricate a handgun or even an AR-15. The parts are widely available across the country in stores and online. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, they have been flying off the shelves. They're shipped right to your door. Not much harder than ordering a pizza.

We bought a kit online for $575 that has everything you need to make a 9 millimeter handgun. It came in parts, like IKEA furniture but for firearms, and even includes the drill bits you need to put the gun together in the comfort of your own home. Why is it so easy to buy? Because federal gun law only regulates a part, called a frame or a lower receiver. But until you drill out holes and file down a bit, in the eyes of federal law, it's just a hunk of metal or in this case plastic.

YouTube videos will show you step-by-step how to turn that piece of plastic or metal into a gun."

See the 60 Minutes Segment