‘Ghost guns’ seized by Chicago police steadily rising as Biden administration plans to target them

Chicago Crime

CHICAGO – One of the types of firearms President Biden is targeting, “ghost guns,” have been seized at continued higher rates over the last five years by Chicago police officers.

“Ghost guns” are sold in kits and then assembled at home. There’s no serial number involved, meaning the guns are hard to track for law enforcement.

On Thursday, President Biden announced a half-dozen executive actions Thursday aimed at addressing a proliferation of gun violence across the nation that he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment.”

The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule aimed at reining in ghost guns within 30 days, though details of the rule weren’t immediately issued.

The type of guns have been on the rise in Chicago. In 2016, more than 8,200 firearms were recovered by Chicago police, with only two being classified as “ghost guns.”

  • 2016: 2 out of 8,248 firearms
  • 2017: 10 out of 8,589 firearms
  • 2018: 21 out of 9,679 firearms
  • 2019: 72 out of 10,699 firearms
  • 2020: 139 out of 11,258 firearms
  • Jan. 1, 2021 – March 8: 37 out of 1,981 firearms.

Eddie Bocanegra, senior director of the Heartland Alliance, is focused on trying to reduce gun violence in the city. He said “ghost guns” aren’t necessarily the biggest problem in Chicago – at least not yet.

Chicago police said due to lack of background checks, previously convicted felons are capable of purchasing them.

“Our biggest issue in Chicago is not the ghost guns but we do have an opportunity to get ahead of what that could mean for our city,” he said.

Mia Tretta says she knows firsthand the devastating effects of gun violence. She was one of five students shot in November 2019 at Saugus High School, outside of Los Angeles.

“Around four minutes after I was dropped off, I was shot in the lower left abdomen,” Tretta revealed.

Two of Tretta’s classmates died, including her best friend. The gun used in the incident was later identified as an unregistered “Ghost gun.” She applauds President Biden’s administration for addressing the issue.

“The fact that President Biden got it rolling and brought this to attention is amazing,” she said. “I’m very proud and happy he did this.”

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