Ghost guns a growing concern for Edmonton Police

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Ghosts guns a growing concern for Edmonton Police
WATCH ABOVE: The Edmonton Police chief says untraceable privately or homemade guns are on the rise in Canada, and he is concerned about what that will mean for organized crime in our city. Sarah Komadina reports – Feb 19, 2023

In 2022, Edmonton police said there was 165 shootings in the city — a 10 per cent increase from 2021. Gun violence is concerning, and Edmonton Police chief Dale McFee said the type of gun being used is also alarming.

“We are seeing an increase in privately made firearms, otherwise known as ghost guns,” McFee said.

In 2022, untraceable, privately made or homemade firearms made up six per cent of all crime guns seized in Edmonton. Not all ghost guns are made the same. EPS seized about 40 all together.

  • Slam guns – 17
  • Modified pen gun – 9
  • Polymer 80 – 3
  • 3D printed receiver – 4
  • Modified air gun – 7
  • Unknown – 7

At the police commission meeting Thursday, McFee said ghost guns are becoming more common in the U.S. and Canada.

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“It’s generally not the average citizen that does this. It’s more on the organized component so that too is alarming,” McFee said.

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Edmonton police do have a team working to find more of these guns and get them off the streets.

Criminologist Temitope Oriola said this is just the tip of iceberg, and there are way more ghost guns not known about.

“Increasingly, these people are seeing they can make a lot of money from printing these devices, therefore it’s becoming a major law enforcement problem,” Oriola said.

“When a technology comes into the criminal landscape, it does take a while for law enforcement to catch up.”

Oriola said this problem started to grow 10 years ago, when a blueprint of how to 3D print guns were put on the internet. Right now it’s more common in the U.S.

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“Criminals see the value of these kinds of weapons because they are not traceable, they’re not detectable by even some of the high-level airport scanners. They can also be carried in bits and pieces,” Oriola said.

Oriola said it is going to require proactive intelligence gathering and very smart policing. He said when individuals with ghost guns are found, police need to interrogate them to find out where the guns are coming from.

“There’s not a foolproof way (to tackle ghost guns), and law enforcement is in a serious disadvantage in that regard.”

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