In ordinary circumstances, anybody planning to purchase a firearm has to meet certain standards to ensure they are fit to own a gun. Most states require a background check, as well as a form that demonstrates the individual is mentally sound and not addicted to any illegal drugs. Now, a legal loophole allows guns to be purchased online, without background checks. This allows people who would not be qualified to own a gun to purchase them.
These guns are known as “ghost guns,” and they’re technically legal because they’re not guns. At least, they’re not guns when they’re sold. They arrive in a kit, and it’s up to the buyer to assemble it themselves. It took former ATF agent Rick Vasquez just a few hours to assemble his. When he finished, he noted that there was no serial number on the gun. This makes it untraceable. He then took it out to a firing range to test it out. In his opinion, “it worked great.”
Law enforcement officers are incredibly concerned about criminals having access to these guns. “It’s legal, but it’s almost like a loophole in the law,” said Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi, from Port Orange, FL. “We’re making it easy for the criminals. I have a concern- a huge concern over that.” These guns have been especially popular in Florida. Orlando Sentinel reported that at least six manufacturers of gun kits have been operating in Volusia County.
Some gun owners do not share police officers’ concerns. Jim Jusick told the Sentinel that guns are difficult to build, and most criminals would not know how to assemble one. “Put it like this. There’s a possibility,” he said. “But Joe Terrorist, he’s not a builder.” Law enforcement officers counter this claim by saying that more homemade guns are being found at crime scenes across the country, from California to Maryland.
It seems that any reasonable person would see why guns without serial numbers, registrations, or identifying marks could be problematic. There’s no way to tell who has such a gun, or how many there are. Legislators such as Senator Chuck Schumer say they want to close the loophole, but they expect opposition from the National Rifle Association to make it difficult.