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Police in Rochester see a rising trend in “ghost gun” recovery



Rochester, New York – Ghost guns are weapons that are privately manufactured, have no serial number, and are nearly impossible to trace. Police officers in the Rochester region have been looking into these weapons for a long time.

Context: March marks the expiration of the federal ghost gun ban; Schumer is leading the charge to restore the statute, and the Supreme Court has reinstated the restriction of ghost firearms without serial numbers.

Gun boxes are piled high on shelves in the evidence room of the Rochester Police Department; some of the evidence dates back several decades. Included in this category of firearms are illicit, non-serialized, privately produced “ghost guns.” Officer Brian Flint is in charge of looking into each one.

“Making sure we’ve identified whatever kind of gun it is correctly,” said Flint. “Makes, models, manufacturers, serial numbers, calibers, all that kind of thing; capacities.”

In 2023, RPD officers found 86 ghost weapons; thus far this year, they have found 15. If that average is maintained, it will show signs of increasing.
A permanent injunction was obtained by the New York State Attorney General’s Office against Indie Weapons, a store situated in Florida, for allegedly selling parts for ghost weapons in New York unlawfully.

“We’re starting to see more 3D printing,” said Flint. “It’s readily accessible. You need a 3D printer, and you just have to have the time.”

According to the New York State Police, these guns, which are spotted all over the 10-county region that Troop E patrols, including the city of Rochester, make up around 5% of the firearms they find during criminal investigations.

Officer Flint and other detectives find these “ghost guns” to be challenging.

“The only thing we have is where did we get it from? Or who did we get it from?” said Flint. “You can start there and maybe during the investigation and maybe they give up some information during the interview.”