OLATHE, Kan. — What is a ghost gun? The ATF said they’re guns that lack serial numbers to identify them, and they are typically assembled by the user. 

Law enforcement and AFT agents are concerned as companies send people — sometimes with little experience or ill intent — kits to put together these ghost guns. 

“Unfortunately, now, we’re seeing in the law enforcement world, that this provision of the Federal Firearms Law is being exploited to some extent,” ATF spokesperson John Ham said.

These kits are widely available online.

Ham said they come with about 80% of the ghost gun, leaving only 20% of parts and assembly up to the buyer.

“With the kits that we’ve seen in the Midwest, somebody with very little firearms expertise at all can take a kit and have a functioning gun in a matter of hours,” Ham said.

Although ghost guns at crime scenes aren’t all that common in the Midwest, Ham said they’ve seen an increase.

In the shooting at Olathe East, the student was allegedly armed with a ghost gun.

Investigators found a ghost gun inside the home of the man who police believe shot and killed two people in Lenexa.

Both suspects have a history with breaking the law, and neither was supposed to have a firearm.

Since ghost guns come in pieces, the Federal Firearms Law doesn’t require a background check to buy them. 

“So you can acquire all of the parts that you need to put one of these guns together,” Ham said.

“Regardless of whether you’re prohibited or not, put the gun together and now we have somebody who couldn’t pass a background check who has just armed themselves with a firearm.”

Ghost guns are also untraceable, making an investigation that much harder to solve. 

Ham said most people buying kits are hobbyists or sportsmen doing something they enjoy.

“It only takes a very, very few people with ill intensions to cause a public safety concern within the community,” Ham said. 

If you know someone that as acquired a kit to make a gun that is not allowed to have a firearm, call 1-888-ATF-TIPS. You can remain anonymous. 

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