CONCOURSE, the Bronx (PIX11) – Ghost guns are becoming increasingly popular among criminals as police recover them more and more at crime scenes across the country.
On the steps of the Bronx County Courthouse on Friday, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York announced new legislation that he and other elected officials hope will put an end to ghost guns.
“We are living through a golden age for guns, which has been a nightmare for everyone here in the Bronx,” Torres said.
Last week in the borough, three teenagers walking home from school were shot, and all were innocent bystanders. Angellyh Yambo, 16, died from her injuries, and police confirmed the suspect fired a ghost gun.
“According to the NYPD, in the first four months of 2022, there’s been a 350% rise in the number of ghost guns, and ghost guns have come to represent 12% of all guns recovered here in New York City,” Torres added.
Ghost guns are self-assembled firearms and have no serial number, making them harder to trace.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced a new federal rule that would make it illegal for businesses to manufacture these types of guns without serial numbers and for a licensed gun dealer to sell them without a background check.
Torres said he’s putting forward a legislative agenda to codify and statute what the president has enacted in regulation.
“Regulation can easily be reversed by the next administration, whereas laws, congressional statutes can stand the test of time,” Torres added.
During his own announcement, Torres was joined by District Attorney Darcel Clark and Borough President Vanessa Gibson.
“This is only April,” Gibson pointed out. “What are we going to do in the summer months of June, July and August? We are not waiting for the next shooting, but we are going to do preventative work.”
They were joined by crisis management teams and Cure Violence groups that specialize in mediating conflicts among young people on the streets before they escalate.
Clark said ghost guns are closer than you may think.
“As we stand on 161st Street, I don’t see any gun shops down here where we could buy guns,” Clark said. “But yet, in these very buildings, people can receive those parts through the mail and make them in their own homes, and no one would be able to trace them,” Clark said.
This legislation would also allow civil lawsuits against these ghost gun manufacturers.