Ghost Guns On The Rise

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ghost guns are on the rise. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say an 18-year-old arrested in connection to a shooting that left one man possibly paralyzed is accused of making these guns and giving them to his friends.

“Ghost guns” – unserialized, privately-made firearms – law enforcement are increasingly recovering at crime scenes in cities across the country.

These unmarked guns are easy to buy, particularly in the form of a build-your-own kit that allows someone to quickly turn parts in a box into a gun capable of firing a bullet.

A huge concern says owner of Hyatt Gun shop Larry Hyatt.

“Definitely an uptick as technology has come along, computers, 3-D printing and you can legally make a gun at home just like you can make your own beer, but you can’t sell it to someone else,” Hyatt says.

CMPD Captain Brett Balamucki said Wednesday that Jermaine Walker Jr., one of the suspects arrested in connection to a shooting that left one man possibly paralyzed, got his hands on a ghost gun.

“One of the concerning things is when we interviewed Mr. Walker who is 18 years old, we also recovered a handgun with no serial number during that arrest and he admitted to us that he made it at his house,” Balamucki says. “So now he’s got an 18-year-old making firearms in his home.”

Attorney General Josh Stein has been pushing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to make clear that ghost guns are firearms under federal law.

Stein’s office provided WCCB the following statement on ghost guns:

“Untraceable ghost guns, sold without a background check, are a threat to public safety. I urged the federal government to clarify that these guns are firearms subject to all relevant protections. Closing this dangerous loophole will make our communities safer.”

President Joe Biden announced regulation earlier this month banning the manufacturing of these guns.

These updated regulations mean that ghost guns will be treated under federal law as what they are – firearms.

“These laws are so gray, a lot of stuff has not been court tested and they’re coming out with some regulation now and what we’re concerned about is the devil is in the details,” Hyatt says.

In Feb. 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative, which is training prosecutors to help bring cases against those who use ghost guns to commit crimes.