Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Feds cracking down on sale of 'ghost guns' in Northern California

It may come as no surprise for people to learn that the nation's recent struggles with gun-related violence have resulted in calls for increased restrictions on firearms dealers by both lawmakers and their constituents. What may come as a suprise, however, is that these recent struggles have also resulted in increased crackdowns by federal law enforcement officials.

Indeed, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been hard at work right here in Northern California over the last several years, making arrests and seizing hundreds of so-called "ghost guns" in undercover operations.

For those unfamiliar with this term, ghost guns are essentially firearms assembled in shops and homes, and later sold or traded to third parties sans serial numbers, paperwork or any other identifying information.

Indeed, while the act of selling ghost guns to a third party is a felony, the act of purchasing the necessary parts and assembling a working firearm for purely personal purposes requires no registration and is otherwise perfectly legal -- provided the firearm always remains the property of the person who assembled it (i.e., no passing to others upon death).

According to experts, the recent crackdown on ghost guns has been necessitated by an increased demand for assault-style weapons, which, in turn, was triggered by fear of a looming federal ban. Specifically, those with the talent and the tools have been capitalizing upon this demand through the illegal manufacture and sale of firearms.  

As for why so much of this activity appears centered in and around Northern California, ATF agents attribute much of it to general interest in the area.

"There are a lot of firearms enthusiasts in Northern California, so it may be that the principals found each other more often," said one ATF agent. "All the elements are here: demand, know-how and cross-pollination of enthusiasts and criminals."

What all of this serves to underscore is that the federal government is actively working in this area of the country to make arrests for weapons-related crimes, and that those convicted on these types of charges typically face steep fines and lengthy prison sentences.

As such, if you are facing charges or are under investigation by federal officials for a possible firearms offense, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.   

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