In America, they call them “ghost guns.” They are one of the most difficult and insidious problems to solve within what Joe Biden has called the new epidemic to fight: the sale of handguns and rifles in a country armed to the teeth, where there have been 43,000 shooting deaths in the last year. 117 per day.
Anyone can build a “ghost gun”: just know how to move on the internet to buy a kit with instructions for use. The price varies, from a few tens to hundreds of dollars. The components of the gun are almost always made of plastic, they can also be 3D printed and the assembled weapons are impossible to trace because they do not have a serial number. And they work, almost always, perfectly.
To find the first traces of ghost guns you have to go back to 2013 when 25-year-old Texan Cody Wilson invented “Liberator” a 3D printed plastic gun prototype, and put the project online. Free of charge. In 48 hours that file was downloaded more than 100,000 times, mainly in America but also in Europe, before being removed by order of the State Department. But on the Internet everything remains, and nothing is really deleted for good. So last year the file returned to the DefCad library of downloadable projects: a download, for American citizens, costs 50 dollars. But there are dozens of networks and platforms dedicated to firearms enthusiasts, from Deterrence Dispensed to Matrix and Rocketcat: real forums where opinions, advice, links and information are exchanged. In recent months, practical tips and even tutorials on how to build a weapon at home would also appear on Twitter and TikTok.
Biden admits: “Guns are an epidemic in the US”.
How many “ghost guns” are circulating in the United States? Impossible to determine. “The actual number of these types of weapons cannot be estimated,” said the head of the agency for the control and prevention of armed violence, the Giffords Law Center. And to date, the production and distribution of do-it-yourself handguns (but there are also rifles, the latest being called “Fgc-9,” or “Fuck gun control 9 mm”) is not prosecuted in virtually any U.S. state. Theoretically, the law is there, and it’s from 2018, but it was only New Jersey that adopted it, where Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was immediately attacked by the gun lobby and brought before the Supreme Court on charges of violating the rights underlying the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (the one that guarantees personal freedoms) and the Second Amendment (which covers the right to self-defense)
What, specifically, can Joe Biden do against “ghost guns”? The President has announced a series of ordinances, also hypothesizing the goal of making this category fall under the Gun Control Act, the 1968 law that prevents the possession of firearms by those who have criminal records or are subject to restraining orders, people who use drugs or illegal immigrants. But it won’t be easy.