Growing concerns in Indiana over ‘ghost guns’ and ‘Glock switches’

INDIANAPOLIS — Untraceable firearms are a growing concern for local and federal law enforcement as technology evolves and people come up with new ways to obtain or change firearms.

“Glock switches” and “ghost guns” are both nicknames. One is for a 3D printed attachment on a handgun. The other is a gun that you can assemble yourself, and both are unobtainable in their own way.

Bryan Muehlberger said he lost his daughter Gracie to the Saugus High School shooting in November 2019.

“So it was very very tough. I’m trying to hold on now,” Muehlberger said.

Even though it happened in California, he is from the Midwest and his son attends Purdue University. So now he’s spreading the message across the country about the dangers of untraceable guns, even as a gun owner himself.

“The first time I heard the global ghost gun was literally, probably twenty minutes after hearing that my daughter had died,” he said.

So what is a ghost gun?

These are real weapons that are sometimes 3D printed or made from parts or complete kits that require some assembly.

They’re untraceable because they don’t come with a serial number and they’re easily purchased online, onboarded in 30 minutes, with no background check required.

Muehlberger said he even bought one in his daughter’s name after she was killed with one.

“If a dead girl can buy a gun online, we probably have a loophole that’s broken,” Muehlberger said.

According to the ATF, about 23,000 “ghosts” were reported to them between 2016 and the end of 2021.

Here in Indiana, the ATF says “ghost guns” or “private-made guns” aren’t a big deal, in part because of relatively lax gun laws. in our state.

“There’s really no demand to make a gun, while it’s just as easy to buy one that’s already finished,” said the acting special agent in charge of the field division. of Columbus from the ATF, Travis Riddle.

However, he said that when local law enforcement finds ghost guns at crime scenes, they report it to a system called E-trace, which is used by the ATF.

“Now our success rate is less than 1% on ‘ghosts’. With a new definition change, hopefully those numbers will increase,” Riddle said.

President Joe Biden has announced that new legislation will require anyone who assembles these firearms to register them with the Department of Justice, but for Riddle and the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force, our state has a bigger unknown problem and not found.

Lt. Ron Brezik is with the IMPD and the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force. He said they see 3D printed attachments like these. They turn a handgun into a rapid-fire machine gun.

“We need to sort it out pretty quickly,” Brezik said.

It’s called a Glock switch because it’s mostly attached to a Glock handgun.

“Firearms in general, in the wrong hands are a big concern for us, but a fully automatic weapon in the wrong person’s hands can be devastating,” Brezik said.

Glock Video Switch

He said people sell these unmarked coins in our area sometimes for $400 apiece.

WRTV asked, “Is this allowed?” Brezik said, “Absolutely not.”

Riddle said ATF guidelines don’t account for new 3D attachments.

“It’s the machine gun, it’s not the gun that fires the bullets, it’s this little piece of plastic,” Riddle said.

It’s gun policies, the pursuit of technology, and regardless of regulations, solving gun violence is an ever-evolving challenge.

“There are laws against these crimes, but that doesn’t stop them from committing these crimes, does it,” Riddle said.

It is a challenge for which ordinary people are paying the price.

“It’s access to firearms by those who shouldn’t, at their age, mental capacity, or because of a criminal history, have access to firearms,” ​​Muehlberger said.

Biden announced that the federal policy will take effect on August 9.

This means that these kits are considered “firearms” under gun control law and manufacturers of these kits must obtain a license and include serial numbers on the frame or receiver of the kits. kits.

Ghost Gun Video

Additionally, commercial sellers must obtain a federal license and complete background checks before the sale.

However, where do you draw the line with the serialization of gun parts?

A Gun Owners of America executive released a statement saying he would sue Biden’s ATF to “stop implementing this rule.”

The National Rifle Association also released a statement saying in part, “This action sends the wrong message to violent criminals because the ban will not affect them.”

In honor of their daughter, Gracie, Muehlberger and her family created a foundation in her name, to help other children connect and realize their worth.