Press Release

Retired ATF Special Agent Responds to Charges Filed Against Member of ‘Boogaloo’ Movement Who Used Ghost Gun to Murder Law Enforcement Officers

June 16, 2020 — Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, issued the following statement on the recent charges filed against a member of the “Boogaloo” movement who used a ghost gun to murder two California law enforcement officers.  

David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor at Giffords and retired ATF Special Agent of 25 years:

“Far-right militants are perverting the Second Amendment to justify violence against the government, law enforcement, and the public at large—and it should come as no surprise they exploit weaknesses in our gun laws to amass arsenals of ghost guns for the purpose of armed insurrection. We cannot allow militia members to build storehouses of untraceable weapons. State and federal leaders must act to curb these clear and present threats to public safety and democratic institutions. It’s all the more offensive that these murderers and other far-right militants have sought to use rightful protests against police racism and violence as cover for their own racist and violent agenda.”

***If you’re interested in speaking to David Chipman about the growing threat of hate-fueled violence carried out by far-right extremists or the spread of ghost guns, please do not hesitate to reach out at [email protected]***

Background on Hate-Fueled Violence:

From 2006–2015, Americans suffered more than 10,000 violent hate crime attacks every year involving the use or threatened use of firearms. The majority of these attacks were motivated by bigotry on the basis of race or ethnicity. Data also suggests that hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals are more likely to involve weapons, especially hate crimes targeting gay men and transgender women.

Recent trends are even more alarming. Since 2015, hate crime incidents across the US have become substantially more numerous and more violent; police departments in numerous major cities have reported significant spikes in hate crimes. And the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that the number of active hate groups reached a record high in 2018. Rising hate crime rates have been driven largely by rising rates of violent hate, and data shows that these increases have negatively affected impacted groups across the country.

Click here to read our blog on Hate-Fueled Violence. 

Background on Ghost Guns:

Ghost guns can be built at home without a manufacturer’s license by anyone with access to common household tools. 3D-printed guns are a type of ghost gun, but less common than DIY kits. Ghost gun websites sell unfinished versions of the gun component that holds the firing mechanism, called a receiver or a frame, which can be easily completed using simple tools available at any hardware store. The websites sell kits that include the tools necessary to complete the lower receiver, as well as all the other parts required to assemble fully functional firearms, including handguns and AR-15-style assault rifles.

As the popularity of ghost guns continue to increase, they are showing up at more and more crime scenes. Today in some areas of California, as many as 40% of crime guns recovered by ATF agents are ghost guns. Criminals have also used ghost guns to cause a number of high-profile tragedies in California and Washington, and to ambush law enforcement.

Ghost Guns Resources: