By Lee Williams
Joe Biden repeated some of his most discredited lies about the Second Amendment Monday during a press conference held in the Rose Garden – deer in Kevlar vests, fictitious prohibitions on the right to keep and bear arms, including cannons – but it’s the actions he’s taking that are the most worrisome, because they’re all based upon a hoax by the ATF.
Without any congressional action and based solely on the flimsy authority of an executive order, Joe Biden is disarming Americans. He is taking away our right to build guns in our homes, even though Americans have been making guns in their homes since before there was a United States of America. Biden based his decision on “ghost gun” data he was given by the ATF – data even the ATF itself cannot verify, which a whistleblower claims the U.S. Justice Department admitted is inaccurate.
“Last year alone, law enforcement reported approximately 20,000 suspected ghost guns to be – to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That’s a tenfold increase in these ghost guns from 2016. Tenfold in five years,” Biden said Monday. “These guns are weapons of choice for many criminals. We’re going to do everything we can to deprive them of that choice and, when we find them, put them in jail for a long, long time. Law enforcement is sounding the alarms. Our communities are paying the price. And we’re acting.”
The entire “ghost gun” drama was started by Carlos A. Canino, the former Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division. In 2020, anti-gun activists asked Canino about the prevalence of homemade firearms in California. An earlier study said 30% of the guns recovered by ATF in California were unserialized “ghost guns,” but Canino said the real numbers were actually much higher. “Forty-one percent, so almost half our cases we’re coming across are these ‘ghost guns,’” Canino said. That was all it took.
A story by the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project published last week showed that the ATF cannot verify Canino’s comments.
“I contacted the Los Angeles Field Division earlier today after your initial email, and their Public Information Officer was unable to verify any figures provided in 2019 by former-SAC Canino without knowing the time-period(s) he used for his comments,” an ATF spokesman said in the email.
After the story was published, a staff member for a U.S. Congressman came forward. This whistleblower, who asked that their name be withheld from publication, revealed even more problems about the ATF’s “ghost gun” statistics.
The staff member asked the U.S. Justice Department for “ghost gun” data, since both the ATF and the Bureau of Justice Statistics fall under the DOJ’s purview.
“Because it is not currently a federal crime to own either a homemade firearm or a braced pistol, DOJ claims they do not have accurate/comprehensive databases to track their use in crimes. They compile information from state and local police units – but that information is only as good as what is reported,” the whistleblower said in an email.
To be clear, the United States Department of Justice told a U.S. Congressman’s staff member that their “ghost gun” data is neither accurate nor comprehensive, and then just days later, the President of the United States issued an executive order stripping Americans of the Second Amendment rights based upon this inaccurate data.
“Despite that,” the staff member said in an email, “the DOJ sent a document stating: ‘Privately made firearms (PMFs), known as ghost guns, are a rapidly growing contributor to violent crime. From January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2020, there were approximately 23,906 suspected PMFs reported to ATF as having been recovered by law enforcement, including in connection with 325 homicides or attempted homicides. The trendline is troubling: in 2016, local law enforcement reported to ATF 1,750 suspected PMFs; by 2020, that number had grown to 8,712, an increase of over 400 percent.’”
This is the same data Biden cited Monday in the Rose Garden, although he had 2021 numbers too.
There are a lot of problems and concerns with the Biden-Harris administration’s “crack down on ghost guns.” Most involve potential civil rights violations and the anti-gun candidate Biden picked to fill ATF’s vacant directorship. However, these problems pale when compared with the statistics ATF is citing as the reason for the crackdown – statistics the USDOJ itself admitted are false. This is nothing but a hoax by the ATF, and the President of the United States is either a victim or a willing participant of the hoax. That is a question history will decide.
All of the senior law enforcement officials I’ve spoken to – from Florida to Washington State – say “ghost guns” aren’t a concern. Most haven’t seen any – not one. Several had their staff check their property rooms for homemade firearms recovered from crime scenes. None were found. Several top cops accused the ATF of conflating homemade firearms with factory-made guns that have had their serial numbers illegally altered or removed, which could account for ATF’s high numbers.
I sincerely hope that someone with the authority to issue subpoenas and compel testimony will investigate the ATF data Biden is using to infringe upon our right to build guns in our homes. Hoodwinking a sitting president – even a likely willing participant like Joe Biden – shouldn’t be career enhancing, even at the ATF. In fact, some folks I’ve spoken to say it could constitute a crime.
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.