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Syracuse joins lawsuit against feds amid rise in ghost guns

Ellen Abbott
WRVO Public Media File Photo
Sen. Charles Schumer with ghost guns at the Onondaga County DA's office earlier this year.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is joining a nationwide action to spur changes that could stop a growing gun threat in Syracuse.

Hand in hand with an increase in gun violence in the City of Syracuse is a jump in the number of so-called “ghost guns” being confiscated by police according to Mayor Walsh.

"We have recovered 25 ‘ghost guns’ just through July, a 30% increase over the same time last year,” Walsh said. “We’re seeing a growing number of them, which is corresponding with growing gun crime.” 

A ghost gun is a homemade firearm cobbled together from easy to get gun parts. Those parts are currently not regulated by the ATF, an agency of the federal government. So, the guns skirt firearm laws.  Walsh has joined mayors from other cities including Chicago in a lawsuit that would force the ATF to change its policy on gun parts.

"We need the gun components to be considered firearms, and regulated the same way, so people can’t easily order them online, get them mailed, and put together, which is like any other firearm that is regulated,” Walsh said.

The group Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun violence prevention organization, is leading the lawsuit. Its research shows ghost guns are becoming a weapon of choice for people with felony convictions, gun traffickers and other people legally prohibited from owning guns.

A six-year-old boy was seriously injured in Syracuse late last year by gunfire from a ghost gun. The cities of San Jose, California and Columbia, South Carolina are also joining in the lawsuit.  

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.