Law enforcement will soon be able to track ‘ghost guns’

GWINNETT COUNTY — Law enforcement will soon have an easier time stopping ghost guns and tracking weapons used in violent crimes.

A top gun regulator with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that new rule changes shouldn’t affect people buying guns legally. But people in the gun business who met with the ATF on Thursday are doing their part to put police in a better position to track guns used in crimes.

One of the goals is to take the ghost out of ghost guns.

Ghost guns are made by a private individual without a serial number that can help police track a gun if it’s used in a crime. They can be made with a 3D printer, mostly out of plastic, which might sometimes beat metal detectors, like at airports.

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“Just think about going through airport security. My bracelet would go off,” said the top gun regulator for the ATF in Georgia, Dr. Scena Webb. “Our goal is to track those and make all of those serialized … It’s going to reduce those not being able to be traced.”

ATF said a ghost gun seized in a metro Atlanta case made mostly with a 3D printer might defeat a metal detector.

Webb said the 60 or so gun store owners or operators, gun makers and others who showed up in response to an invitation for a meeting with the ATF about new rules are some of the good ones.

“Aug. 24 is going to be the first effective date,” Webb said. “They are here to learn everything they can to stay on the right side with ATF.”


Webb says the new ATF rules taking effect Aug. 24 are mostly to enhance the traceability of guns.

“The new rules will allow for ATF and our state and federal and local partners to trace firearms easily and link them to various crime scenes and/or firearms traffickers who are putting these firearms on the street,” ATF special agent in charge Ben Gibbons said.

Webb said a private citizen doesn’t have to put a serial number on a gun they make unless it is transferred to someone else. But gun stores will have to put a serial number on a gun without one if it takes it in trade or turns it away.

“I think these changes will do more towards the traceability of the firearms,” Dant Danner of Norcross Gun Club said.

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