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As I See It

Ghost guns gotta go



It was just over five years ago when an employee of a software company in Middleton, Wisconsin stood up from his desk and started firing on his co-workers. It had been a regular day for the employees of Paradigm until Anthony Vang pulled out a gun and suddenly became an active shooter. Vang was prohibited from owning a firearm, but was able to legally build his own. He was able to purchase all the parts necessary to assemble a functioning firearm. He didn’t have to undergo any sort of background check, and the parts used to build the gun contained no serial numbers and weren’t traceable. Since then, new laws have been passed at the federal level, requiring gun parts to be serialized by the manufacturer so they can be traced. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the rule. Yet Wisconsin has yet to act to even make these ghost guns illegal. It is not against state law for a felon who is not allowed to possess a firearm from building one himself. Now, some state lawmakers have reintroduced bills to close this ghost gun loophole. Five years after the shooting in Middleton, it is long past time for our lawmakers to act.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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  1. Kent Porter

    October 31, 2023 at 6:27 am

    Criminals and CRAZY people gotts be LOCKED UP !!!!!!!!! GOAST GUNS GOTTA GO TOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thomas Lane

    October 31, 2023 at 7:20 am

    This is a perfect example of someone spouting off without knowing what they are talking about. There is no registration database that allows the government to “trace” a particular firearm, and there never has been. Until the late ’70’s, some “real” manufacturers didn’t put serial numbers on anything, and you used to be able to order firearms delivered to your house, by mail. Are these “ghost guns”? The whole argument is specious. If I wanted to, I could build a functioning firearm out of a car antenna and a piece of wood…

  3. walden

    October 31, 2023 at 9:12 pm

    Is Mr. Shaw taking the position Vang couldn’t / wouldn’t have been able to obtain a firearm elsewhere? Ridiculous and naive.

    By the way, no-one died in the Paradigm shooting; a steak knife could have done more damage than the “ghost gun”.

  4. Wayne

    November 1, 2023 at 12:13 am

    Ghost guns are a real danger that can’t be ignored. Ask the cops what they think, it makes thier job more dangerous. Only criminals need ghost guns. Lets do what we can to prevent that from ever happening.

  5. walden

    November 1, 2023 at 12:47 am

    “It is not against state law for a felon who is not allowed to possess a firearm from building one himself”

    It would seem that once the ghost gun is built by a felon he is in possession of a firearm and breaking the law, no?

  6. Kevin

    November 1, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Gotta go with Walden, owning the disassembled parts of a firearm doesn’t mean you own a firearm. Once the parts are put together that is a firearm, and that is breaking the law, if you are a felon. As for the feared ghost gun needing to be legislated or tracked, why, is that going to prevent a person from breaking the law? There are laws on the books regulating all the nasty things people can do to each other and yet they prevent nothing. The law that Shaw is proposing will hurt only the law abiding, it will not impact the people intent upon doing harm.

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