Shocker: NBC News Segment On 'Ghost Guns' Is Riddled With Inaccuracies

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Feb 21, 2017 5:45 PM
Shocker: NBC News Segment On 'Ghost Guns' Is Riddled With Inaccuracies

Another day, another story about firearms from the news media that’s absolute crap. NBC News reported on February 9 that “ghost guns” are being used in crimes across the country. They’re untraceable. And criminals can obtain them without a background check. That sounds serious. The source of the worry: AR-15 gun kits. The network ordered a kit and sent it to a former ATF agent, who then assembled it within “a couple of hours,” according to national investigative reporter Jeff Rossen. Here’s what NBC News reported:

Federal officials like Graham Barlowe, the resident agent in charge of the ATF's Sacramento office, say the loophole is dangerous.

"People that could not pass a background check," said Barlowe, "are purchasing these unfinished receiver kits and making firearms because they know that if they went to a gun store, they wouldn't be able to pass a background check."

Police say criminals are well aware of the availability of "ghost guns," and they've been used in shootings across the country, from Maryland to California.

Jeff Rossen, NBC News national investigative correspondent, went online to see how easy it would be to order these gun kits. He quickly found dozens of websites offering the product, and ordered a rifle kit, which he had shipped to former ATF agent Rick Vasquez in Virginia.

[…]

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D.-N.Y., the senate minority leader said he wants to close the loophole, but expects fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association. "We are going to try to pass legislation," said Schumer. "The trouble is the NRA is so unreasonable and has such power in the Congress, you'd think this should pass like that, but it is going to be a long hard road."

Luckily, Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon caught on the inaccuracies and raked NBC over the coals for failing to check with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives about these so-called ghost guns. First, the law enforcement agency isn’t familiar with these firearms being used in crimes. They don’t have the data, despite NBC’s claims that they're being used all over the place. Second, it’s not legal for prohibited persons to own firearms, even if it does come in separate parts for assembly. Last, Gutowski spoke with Vasquez who said that the assembly didn’t take a couple of hours and that there’s more to it than using a simple power drill to finish a lower component (the part that’s considered the gun) that’s 80 percent completed.

“This is a real gun and anyone can buy it, no background check required. It's perfectly legal,” said Rossen. Well, no—that’s not true.

…The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that this is incorrect.

Despite what NBC News claims, felons and other people considered "prohibited persons" under federal and most state laws are not legally allowed to manufacture and possess their own firearms.

"It is illegal for a prohibited person to have a firearm or ammunition," ATF spokesperson Ginger Colbrun said. "They can NOT be in possession of a firearm."

While ATF agent Graham Barlowe is quoted in the NBC News piece warning that some criminals are attempting to manufacture guns with the kits in question, Colbrun said federal law already prohibits them from doing so.

"We are not claiming it is legal," she said. Agent Barlowe "was pointing out how prohibited individuals are skirting the background check because they won't pass them."

Though the Nightly News segment claims "Ghost Guns" are "being used in shootings across the country from Maryland to California," the ATF said it doesn't have any data on how often unmarked guns are actually used in crimes.

[…]

Vasquez said he spent about eight hours with the NBC crew for the report but while he said it wasn't taken out of context, he still felt the piece didn't accurately show the manufacturing process he undertook.

"Nothing that I said was misrepresented. There just wasn't enough depth," Vasquez told the Free Beacon. "I wish there had been more discussion about the actual manufacturing of the firearm."

[…]

The segment doesn't show the milling that's required to turn an 80 percent AR-15 lower component into a finished lower component—a complicated process requiring specialty power tools like a drill press or CNC machine.

So, there is no “loophole” regarding gun kits and criminals. In the chance that felons try to buy and manufacture a rifle from these kits, they’re breaking the law and could go to jail. It’s just another instance of felons once again breaking the law. There’s already a law for it. Maybe that’s why the National Rifle Association refused to comment on this NBC story. And probably why NBC refused to speak with Gutowski.

The only question remaining is if these ghost guns can shoot a .30 caliber clip with 30 bullets in half a second from a thirty magazine clip. Yeah, remember this guy--California State Sen. Kevin de Leon--speaking about so-called ghost guns back in 2014.