Senate judiciary committee heard about ghost guns yesterday

May 12 — Pennsylvania State Attorney General Josh Shapiro testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday concerning ghost guns.

The Department of Justice has been examining this issue, some of which was based on the executive orders signed a few months ago by President Biden.

Ghost guns are weapons that are assembled by the users and come in kits that typically include one piece that’s unfinished. The owner would need to drill the frame or receiver to make the gun functional.

And they do.

Ghost guns don’t have serial numbers and can be sold without background checks. Without a serial number, there’s no way to track them, and without a background check, anyone can get them.

These somewhat handmade guns have become a relatively big issue for law enforcement around the country.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen talked ghost guns this morning on First News.

Barkdoll said, “The police commissioner of Baltimore pointed out they’re finding a lot of these guns purchased by minors. These are people who otherwise would not qualify to purchase a firearm legally.”

Even Ted Cruz made comments yesterday that didn’t seem to oppose finding a way to control these kinds of weapons.

Barkdoll said, “He was asking questions in a way that were amplifying the point that is there an underground market that the government and a lot of people are not aware of with these ghost guns?”

Because the discussion happened in committee, could it go further?

Barkdoll said, “It seemed like there were votes there yesterday, including among Republicans, to green light this and send it on to the full Senate for a vote.”

Ryan said, “I can already hear Carl and Noreen Hill (of Hill Top Arms) a mile away on this. You start this and it’s a slippery slope.”

Barkdoll agreed, but noted, “I think that these people that testified yesterday, it’s a legitimate point. There has to be a way to better monitor this. That doesn’t mean they have to necessarily be banned. Is there a scenario that they could still sell these kits, but make the person buying the kit subject to the same background check just like anyone buying a firearm over the counter would be. That may be an over simplification because I imagine there’s ways you might be able to get these kits piecemeal that would make it impossible to do the full background check.”