Watch CBS News

Rise in crime fueled in part by "ghost" guns, ATF says

ATF: Crime spike driven in part by "ghost" guns
ATF: Spike in crime driven in part by "ghost" guns 02:39

President Biden is meeting with New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday to discuss the wave of gun violence plaguing America's cities. 

"Ghost" guns, unregistered and untraceable homemade weapons that can be made with a 3D printer, are partly driving the spike in crime, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The weapons can be produced for less than $200. 

Earl Griffith, an ATF firearms officer, told CBS News that a small conversion device can turn a legal semiautomatic handgun into an illegal machine gun. Conversion parts can be made in about 45 minutes. 

"You can buy a box of firearms parts, and you can assemble those firearms together. And I've seen videos on YouTube, where you can see people doing it in record time — 20, 30 minutes," ATF acting director Marvin Richardson told CBS News. 

Last year, police seized more than 300 "ghost" guns in Baltimore, 455 in Chicago and 225 in New York City, according to the respective police departments. 

Richardson says criminals and gang members using these guns are well-known to law enforcement. 

"So what we've learned is that those people that we go after have an average of eight arrests prior to us having that contact with them," he said. "In many instances, eight violent criminal arrests, so we're not talking about people that are shrinking violets." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.