New federal ban on ‘ghost guns’ causing controversy; gun store owners say non-serialized guns aren’t the problem

Biden pushes for stricter laws on 'ghost guns'
Biden pushes for stricter laws on 'ghost guns'(WITN)
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 9:15 PM CDT
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ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOV) - Reaction builds tonight over a presidential executive order signed early Monday. President Joe Biden is enacting restrictions on what they’re calling “ghost guns”. Effectively, they’re guns without serial numbers typically sold in separate parts at legal gun stores. Now, both sides of the debate are reacting on if the move helps in what the Biden administration claims will crack down on crime

“This is not a firearm. This is a piece of plastic,” Frank Bahr explained.

Bahr’s the owner of Alien Armory Tactical in St. Charles. He’s owned the gun store for years and opened it after he found a passion for assembling firearms. Alien Armory Tactical is the only gun manufacturer that makes firearms in-house in the region. They sell fully assembled firearms in addition to separate parts for folks to build their own at home. One product, a P-80, which is a pistol frame they sell, is one of the many products President Biden announced new restrictions on Monday.

“It’s a kit that you have to drill and cut away pieces of plastic yourself, and then after it’s done, you have to build it out yourself. It’s just like a guy who works on his car, it’s no different,” Bahr said.

Full firearms sold in stores like Bahr’s require a serial number. The P-80′s don’t. That’s now changing with Biden’s new ban on unfinished parts like the frame of a handgun or receiver of a long gun. The new rule requires gun makers to include serial numbers on all gun parts, be federally licensed, run background checks, and keep purchase records as long as the store is in business.

“Because of these updates, law enforcement will have additional crime gun intelligence to stop gun violence,” U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.

It’s something North City Alderman, John Collins-Muhammad, is all for.

“I think that it’s just a bold step in doing anything we can to try and control our gun violence epidemic,” Collins-Muhammad said.

Collins-Muhammad is one of the only aldermen in north St. Louis to not have a single homicide in his or her ward this year. He said the White House’s new order could help maintain that.

“It does become a little bit stricter on gun owners and people who sell firearms,” Collins-Muhammad said.

Gun store owners, like Bahr, said this only infringes on their constitutional rights to own guns.

“If somebody’s wanting to commit a crime, they’re gonna find a gun on the streets. They’re not coming to a gun shop, they’re not gonna try to build one of these things,” Bahr explained.

News 4 also talked with several law enforcement agencies who said “ghost guns” or guns without serial numbers aren’t very prevalent. One official said they haven’t seen a non-serialized gun in decades.