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Untraceable 'ghost guns' appearing more in Canadian cities
TORONTO -- A recent investigation has led to a first-of-its-kind bust in Winnipeg of a 3D-printed "ghost gun" manufacturing operation while police in other Canadian cities are seeing an increase in the untraceable firearms.
Winnipeg police charged a 31-year-old man on June 1 with weapons trafficking after seizing 28 weapons from his home including many created using a 3D printer and without any serial numbers or markings for tracking.
"I can only think of one reason why one would manufacture a firearm that can not be registered or detected and that is to circumvent the laws that are in place to protect us all," Winnipeg Insp. Max Waddell said during a news conference on June 9.
Police said they were first alerted after the man had attempted to purchase a prohibited part for an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle from a firearms reseller in mid-May. Under a federal ban on a range of weapons that came in to effect on May 1, once restricted rifles like the AR-15 are now prohibited.
However, this is not the first time untraceable "ghost guns" have been found in Canada.
Regina police made two arrests in May after finding illegally made firearms and "computer machined firearm parts." Last December, police in Ontario busted a firearm manufacturing ring and confiscated multiple guns made using a 3D printer.
The instructions for making these guns can be found online and in the U.S., 80 per cent of an assembled "ghost gun" can be purchased legally.
The director of the D.C. Department of Forensic Services said in January that Washington police are seeing these kinds of weapons "almost daily."
The increase in reported 3D-printed guns has sparked concern from some U.S. lawmakers and gun-control advocates who fear this latest development allows quicker, easier access to weapons.
In Canada, it is a criminal offence for individuals to manufacture firearms if they do not have a business license approving them to do so.
Rod Giltaca, CEO and executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, told CTV National News that anyone who violates Canada’s weapons laws could face up to 10 years in prison.
"You can't manufacture firearms without registering them or at least let the government know you are manufacturing firearms," Giltaca said. "When it comes to AR-15's pre-May 1, they are restricted firearms therefore they needed to be registered so there's a huge bevy of charges that person could be subject to."
The RCMP said in a statement it continues to "monitor developments with regard to 3D-printed firearms" but warned such guns do not change current weapons laws.