BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State took another step towards eliminating "Ghost Guns" with the New York State Legislature recently passed the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, which would require all guns to be serialized and ban the ownership of ghost guns entirely.
Ghost Guns have risen in popularity for the last few years due to both a rush to make a firearm, and the limited amount of new firearms. According to Joe Olscamp from Escarpment Arms, this has only increased due to the pandemic.
"A lot of first time gun buyers over the last year," Olscamp said, "Prices are still through the roof for everything."
So what is a Ghost Gun?
"Simply it's a firearm without a serial number a make a model and a manufacturer," Olscamp said.
Ghost Guns are guns that are not manufactured at a certified store. No background check is required for the parts, and no serial numbers are on the gun. It's essentially the opposite of purchasing a gun at a store in New York State.
"If you were to go to the store and buy any one of these guns, it's going to have the manufacturers name on it, and it will have the serial number," Olscamp said, "in the event of a crime it could be traced."
This new Ghost Gun bill, that awaits the Governor's signature to become law, would make ghost guns illegal completely. Under the current law, Ghost Guns were legal barring one caveat.
"You're supposed to be building it for personal use, but not for the sale or distribution of the firearm," Dave Ditullio, COO of Defensor Inc, and homeland security officer, said.
According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government between 2017 and 2020, New York law enforcement saw a 479% increase in recoveries of Ghost Guns.
This new bill, in addition to banning Ghost Guns, would require licensed gunsmiths to serialize and register with the Division of State Police any un-serialized gun, unfinished frame, or receiver in their possession.
The bill also creates penalties for possession and sale of ghost guns for those who are not gunsmiths and creates a penalty for knowing possession or disposition of more than 10 Ghost Guns.
Ditullio says this still creates confusion, because the law does not say what current Ghost Gun owners should do if the Governor signs the bill into law. He hopes a time frame is given for Ghost Gun owners to make their guns legal.
"We should be able to serialize that and put that into the proper system," Ditullio said.
Ghost Gun legislation will place even more of an emphasis on acquiring guns through legitimate sellers like Escarpment Arms and Defensor. For more information on Escarpment Arms, you can visit their website here, or contact them at (716) 727-3004. For more information on Defensor, they can be found at the website here, or contact at (716) 228-0906.