Last week’s news brought to us a new firearms illegality issue, with two New York based men being held by the police on charges of illegal gun trafficking. The two men were held in what amounted to be a 32-count indictment, announced by the State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last Monday, on September 21st. Antonio Himonitis and Thomas Weber had been arrested since June 25th and investigated for producing and distributing illegal guns (the so called ghost guns are untraceable by the official channels, thus becoming a magnet for crime perpetrators).
One of the men (Antonio Himonitis) was held by the court on a $2 million bond, while the other one (Thomas Weber) was ordered to be held on a $1 million bond. Both of them pleaded as not guilty to the charges laid against them by the State Attorney’s office. The developing of the trial and its conclusions remain to be seen, but the guilt of the two men (their involvement in the trafficking of untraceable guns) seems to be almost sure by the looks of it at this point.
What are Ghost Guns and Why They are Dangerous
The so-called ghost guns (named that way because of their ‘invisible’ and untraceable nature) are all firearms which aren’t just illegally distributed, but also illegally produced, without any kind of license for it. This means such illegal guns aren’t just smuggled out of a gun factory and then distributed without proper care for the formalities required and for registering their owners, but they are home-made and thus illegally produced in the first place.
This makes such completely untraceable guns not only a magnet for crime (since they can then be disposed of easily, without any ownership trace coming up to help the authorities track down the crime perpetrator or a potential list of the gun’s users), but also extremely dangerous per se. Without a proper producer to reference and hold liable for any eventual gun defects, the firearms in question can misfire and be faulty without any repercussions on anyone.
Furthermore, it’s even probable for these illegal guns to be dysfunctional (at least in minor but dangerous ways), since the expertise of an illegal home lab with crime in mind cannot compare with that of a proper ballistics development lab of an established gun producer. For such reasons and more, the illegal gun trafficking involving ghost guns is a very serious crime, one which will most likely result in decades of jail time for the two New York City men charged last week.
The law is equally harsh on those who simply buy illegal guns, compared to those who produce and distribute it, as part of the effort to put a stop to this dangerous phenomenon. State Attorney General Eric Schneider said that ‘It does not matter if you build it yourself or buy it off the street corner – an illegal gun is an illegal gun, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.’ The zero tolerance policy against ghost guns will hopefully have the expected results and cut some of the extent of such trafficking.