BEAUMONT, Texas — Gun experts are having mixed opinions on the level of impact a new federal law that targets "ghost guns" will have on violent crimes.
"These guns are weapons of choice for many criminals,” President Biden said. “We're going to do everything we can to deprive them of that choice.”
President Biden announced new restrictions on “ghost guns,” hoping to lift the burden off law enforcement. The president said they are now required to have serial numbers.
“Ghost guns” are home-made guns that do not have serial numbers. The lack of a serial number makes the weapons almost impossible to link back to crimes.
Some area gun experts believe the problem with ghost guns is that criminals and not law-abiding citizens are obtaining them and using them to commit crimes.
Experts said the guns can be illegally purchased online, and the new federal law is not targeting the right problem.
“We need to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys, and when bad guys commit a crime with a firearm, there needs to be dire consequences,” Doc Watson, Southeast Texas gun expert, said. “They don't need to be back out on the street in 24 months.”
Watson does not believe it is a gun-violence problem, but he does think it is a violent-crime problem. He believes laws should be better focused on keeping criminals from committing gun crimes.
“We need to effectively enforce the existing gun laws to prevent criminals from committing violent crime period,” Watson said.
Watson does not believe the new federal law will have a huge impact when it comes to cutting down on "ghost guns." However, other gun experts disagree.
"Guns that can't be tracked are more easily landing in the hands of potentially dangerous individuals, and that's a risk to our communities,” Nicole Golden, interim executive director for Texas Gun Sense, said.
Texas Gun Sense is a non-profit organization dedicated to gun violence prevention. Golden believes new laws aimed at curbing gun violence are needed.
Golden agrees with President Biden’s new plan to crack down on Ghost guns.
"In 2020, we had more than 4,000 deaths due to gun-related incidents,” Golden said. “And that's higher than what it had been in the past, which had been in the mid-3,000s. So certainly, we need to be doing everything we can here in Texas.”