“Ghost Guns”

When I was just a freshman in high school, the current President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate Kevin de León gave us a speech about “Ghost Guns.” They have recently been interjected into our political debate, thanks to Cody Wilson, whose 3-D printed guns were almost allowed for sale. That was until it was blocked by the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, after a lawsuit was filed by eight states attorneys generals and the attorney general for Washington D.C. Citing, “a likelihood of irreparable harm,” the sale of undetectable firearms was blocked.

It is frankly hard to think of one good usage that could come out of the use of an undetectable firearm. Firearms that are designed not to be noticed, only seem to be a means to hurt someone, or get a gun on a plane if someone is exceptionally worried about their self-defense during their layover. However, I wonder if there is an actual solution to this issue besides an outright ban. As long as the internet exists, people will be able to get their hands on dangerous weapons, and rather than outright ban I wonder if regulation would simply be a better solution.

I also worry about the coverage of this issue and how that may magnify the need and want to purchase these guns. In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2015 article “Thresholds of Violence,” he discussed the increase of school shootings:

The problem is not that there is an endless supply of deeply disturbed young men who are willing to contemplate horrific acts. It’s worse. It’s that young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts.

Kids who feel isolated and alone, who are odd or just in a need of attention, may be more susceptible to committing a school shooting. That is a horrifying sentence, especially for someone who felt isolated as a child like myself. The more we freakout rather than legislate and regulate, will this cause the group of kids willing to commit dangerous acts to expand further.

While I am not advocating for any gun usage let alone this one, if there is a will there is a way. I hope we can be careful and nuanced in discussing this rather than shoving the issue aside. I still believe gun control is important, and in a perfect world, this gun would not only be illegal but impossible to obtain. I understand the fear and the danger, and if someone has a gun I would recommend running rather than “standing your own ground.” However, we have certain rights, and the irreparable harm caused by this gun will be available to someone in a short period of time. Rather than run the other way, I think we should consider how we can regulate and prevent it from being extremely dangerous, or invest in ways to detect its presence.

Regardless, do not expect this to be the last thing you will hear on “ghost guns,” as they will certainly be available whether the government likes it or not. I hope we invest time in a solution rather than hope it will not be an issue if it is outlawed. Whether we like it or not, these guns will be readily available and it is best that we be ready tackle them head on.

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