President Joe Biden on Thursday called gun violence in the country an epidemic and is now looking to take swift action to address it. One of the targets: ghost guns.
Recent mass shootings in the US are all too real for victims of gun violence. Brandon Wolf is a Pulse Nightclub survivor, where he lost his two friends.
“I know what it feels like to have the eyes of the world prying into your community while you’re just trying to burying the person that you love more than anything in the world,” said Wolf. “I know what it feels like when the cameras finally move on and it feels like the country’s forgotten you, but the hole that the people you loved isn’t gone."
On Thursday, Wolf was at the White House when President Biden addressed steps he’ll take to confront what he called a gun crisis, including a crackdown on so-called “ghost guns.”
“These are guns that are homemade, built from a kit that includes directions on how to finish the firearm. You can go buy the kit,” said Biden. “They have no serial numbers, so when they show up at a crime scene, they can’t be traced. And the buyers aren’t required to pass a background check to buy the kit to make the gun.”
The President said he wants to see these kits treated as firearms under the Gun Control Act, requiring sellers and manufacturers to make key parts with serial numbers and run background checks on buyers.
ABC Action News spoke to Kevin Richardson, a retired special agent with the ATF.
“The ghost guns are just really one issue dealing with gun violence,” said Richardson. “When you begin to start having these manufactured firearms with no serial number, it just becomes unaccountable and untraceable. You just don’t know where they come from.”
“It’s a big hobby,” said Mark Serbu. “There are websites dedicated to it, and thousands of people around the country and the world who do this kind of stuff. But with the advent of 3D printing, it managed so that now there are certain parts you can print out yourself.”
Serbu owns Serbu Firearms, a firearm manufacturer based in Tampa for the last 25 years. He explained he doesn’t think it’s a huge problem and thinks the ghost gun issue is background noise compared to what’s out there already.
“If someone’s going to go and make their own gun and go use it in a crime, it doesn’t really matter if it’s got a serial number or not because you’re not going to trace it anywhere. This guy made it, so what the heck good is that going to do? Of course, we’d like to make sure that people getting guns are not complete maniacs," Serbu said.
ABC Action News reached out to the ATF office in Tampa to see if they track ghost guns, but have not yet received a response.
Wolf called ghost guns a clear and present danger in the country right now. He explains he hopes today is the last first step we have to take towards change with gun violence.
“I think that we have a real opportunity here to get something miraculous done, and as I told the President today in the Oval Office when he signs bills into law, I will be right there alongside him once again,” said Wolf.