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Ghost Guns Recoveries and Shootings

illustration of a ghost gun

Untraceable DIY ghost guns are the fastest growing gun safety problem in the country. They’ve become a weapon of choice for violent criminals, including white supremacists. And because they can be obtained with no background check and no questions asked, they are undermining gun safety laws across the country. In anticipation of the ATF finalizing a new rule relating to kits and parts used to build ghost guns, it is important for the public to understand the prevalence of ghost guns in murders, shootings, and other crimes. Everytown has therefore collected examples of reported murders and shootings using ghost guns since 2013. In addition, this site collects the latest figures on ghost gun recoveries from cities across the country.

Ghost Guns Shootings

DateStateLocalityDescriptionCourt Docs
2022-4-8NYBronxA 17-year-old shot and killed a 16-year-old and injured two other teens with a ghost gun outside of a high school.
2022-3-6WAEverettAfter a fight broke out in the parking lot of a bar, a man shot and killed another man with a ghost gun.
2022-3-4KSJohnson CountyA student used a ghost gun to shoot a school resource officer.
2022-2-28CASacramentoA man subject to a DVRO killed his three daughters, a chaperone, and himself with ghost AR.
2022-2-27KSLenexaA man used a ghost AR-15 in the double murder-suicide of his ex-girlfriend and the man that she was with.
2022-2-25NMAlbuquerque14-year-old killed 16-year-old with ghost gun near school.
2022-1-30FLVero BeachA teen unintentionally shot another teen with ghost pistol he thought was unloaded.
2022-1-28CALos AngelesA man with a ghost gun was shot and injured by officers.
2022-1-25NYNew Rochelle16 year old fatally shot another 16 year old with Polymer80 pistol.
2022-1-21MDMontgomery County17-year-old shot a 15 year old in high school with ghost gun.
2022-1-19CASan JoseA man with a ghost gun was shot and killed by officers.
2022-1-17MASomervilleA man fired his ghost gun during an armed home invasion.
2022-1-15NYRochesterSuspect in triple shooting had a Polymer80, carmate pointed it at police
2022-1-8CAFontanaTwo people were shot and injured. A loaded ghost gun was found.
2022-1-4ILRockfordTwo teens were injured with a ghost gun during a shooting in a high school parking lot.
2021-12-31WIStoughtonA man shot and killed his 19 year old friend. The shooter claimed the gun fired unintentionally.
2021-12-31MNBloomingtonMall of America shooting by 18-year-old used Polymer80 ghost pistol.
2021-12-5CASan FranciscoA person was shot during a robbery at a motel with a ghost gun.
2021-12-21NYSyracuseMan killed when Polymer80 fired from car.
2021-11-30MNMaplewoodAfter abducting a girl, the kidnapper shot the girl's family member with a ghost gun.
2021-11-29AZPhoenixA high school student sold a Polymer80 pistol to another student in school. The seller was hurt in the shooting.
2021-11-27GADouglas CountyA 13-year-old who was making and selling ghost guns unintentionally shot his sister in a deal gone wrong.
2021-11-24COAuroraAn ex-officer shot a child who had a ghost gun.
2021-11-20NJCamden CountyMan accidentally shot himself with a ghost gun.
2021-11-9CASan Francisco (N.D. Cal.)A drug dealer used a Polymer80 pistol in a road rage shooting.Complaint
2021-11-2MIWyomingMan killed hotel security guard with ghost gun.
2021-10-21MASpringfieldA car chase ended in gunfire, injuring one woman. A ghost gun was used.
2021-9-28WIMadisonA 15-year-old unintentionally shot and killed 11-year-old sister with a ghost gun.
2021-9-27NYManhattan25-year-old man shot multiple people outside of a nightclub with a ghost gun; was shot by police.
2021-9-22ILOak LawnA shooting that ended with two people injured involved a ghost gun.
2021-9-18NJNewarkPolymer80 pistol among those used in shootings.Complaint
2021-9-8VAAlexandriaA man shot a Polymer80 ghost pistol out a car window.
2021-8-18MDGermantown14 year old killed one and wounded 3 others with a ghost gun at a basketball court.
2021-8-12NYBronxStreet gunfire involved Polymer80 ghost pistol.Complaint
2021-8-7DCWashingtonA man shot and killed a woman with a ghost gun after an argument.
2021-7-29PAPhiladelphiaPolice shot a man who fired at officers with a ghost gun in a park.
2021-7-23CAHollisterPolice found a ghost gun at the scene of shooting that left one injured.
2021-7-23CASan DiegoA man with a ghost gun was shot and killed by officers. Two other ghost guns were recovered from the vehicle that the man had been traveling in prior to the shooting.
2021-7-3CAChula VistaA twelve-year-old boy was unintentionally shot and killed, either by himself or his friend, with a ghost gun at a sleepover.
2021-6-27CTVernonA man killed a hotel owner with a ghost gun over the price of a pool pass.
2021-6-13HIHawaii CountyWhen police arrived at a domestic violence crime scene, the offender shot at the officers with a ghost AR. Officers returned fire, killing him.
2021-6-12PAAllentownMan shot ghost pistol with extended magazine into crowd, was then shot by police.
2021-5-18MDWaldorfMan fired at officers with a ghost gun.
2021-5-15CASan Francisco (N.D. Cal.)A man used a ghost AR pistol in a double homicide. A third victim was shot and injured.Complaint
2021-4-25VAFairfax CountyA high school student used a ghost gun to kill two other high schoolers during a fist fight. Police found an additional ghost gun in the killer's home.
2021-4-22CABerkeleyA man suspected of a shooting had a fully automatic ghost gun pistol.
2021-4-22CASan DiegoA man randomly opened fire with a ghost pistol, killing one and injuring four.
2021-3-2NYDutchess CountyMan involved in armed robbery had ghost pistol.
2021-2-25MDBeltsvilleMan shot at Secret Service security guards with ghost gun.Stipulation of Facts
2021-2-22NYOnondaga CountyMan killed neighbor with ghost gun after argument.
2021-1-21MAMiddleboroughAn 18-year-old shot three people with a ghost gun.
2021-1-9CASanta Monica (C.D. Cal.)A man with a felony conviction shot into his neighbor's yard. He had a homemade AR rifle and two semi-automatic Polymer80 handguns.Complaint
2020-12-15MAPeabody19-year-old man transferred ghost gun that 18-year-old transferee unintentionally shot himself with.
2020-11-29CTEast HartfordA man shot and injured a woman with a Polymer80 handgun.
2020-11-13CAGardena (C.D. Cal.)Members of gang shot and killed a man after an argument; three Polymer80 pistols found afterwards.Complaint
2020-10-31NJAtlantic CountyAfter shots-fired report, pair had two handguns and charged with purchasing firearm parts to manufacture a firearm w/o a serial number
2020-10-4MDAnne Arundel CountyMan suspected in non-fatal shooting had a glock style ghost gun
2020-9-12CALos AngelesMan with a felony conviction shot two police officers with a ghost pistol.
2020-8-26DCWashingtonTwo men were arguing when one fired his ghost gun. The bullet struck the ground and shattered. Fragments hit a man playing chess.
2020-8-10PABucks CountyA man threatened to kill a woman in a Walmart parking lot and later assaulted his mother. When police searched his home they discovered ghost guns, 80% receivers and tools for manufacturing ghost guns. He was already prohibited from possessing firearms because of previous convictions.
2020-7-10PASelinsgroveA man used a Polymer80 handgun to kill his ex-wife and her date. He was not permitted to possess firearms because his ex-wife had a protection order against him.
2020-6-18CALos AngelesAn 18-year-old security guard had a ghost gun. He was shot and killed by police.
2020-5-29CAN.D. Cal.A boogaloo member killed two police officers with a ghost full-auto rifle with a silencer.Complaint
2020-5-26NYErie CountyA man used a ghost pistol in a drive-by shooting, then shot a police officer with an illegally modified AR-15-style assault rifle.
2020-4-4CASan Bernadino County
(C.D. Cal.)
A man selling a gun threatened the buyer with a ghost pistol during an illegal gun deal gone bad. The buyer then shot at the seller with another gun. The seller, who had recently finished his sentence for a prior carjacking conviction had a second ghost gun in his possession at the time of his arrest. Indictment
2020-3-5CASunnydaleA man shot and killed another driver and injured a passenger in a road rage shooting with a ghost gun.
2020-3-2PAPhiladelphiaA man used a ghost gun to kill another man after a bar fight.
2020-1-1RIProvidenceCouple murdered woman with a ghost gun.
2020-1-1CASanta Barbara CountyA man assaulted his wife and fired a handgun without a serial number into the air.
2019-12-16HIHonoluluA man who died in a shootout with police had a ghost pistol.
2019-12-12DCWashingtonA felon shot at officers with a ghost AR.Gerstein Affidavit
2019-12-3CTWatertownA man killed his girlfriend's son and daughter, then himself, with his girlfriend's ghost gun.
2019-12-3NYOnondaga CountyMentally ill man shot his six-year-old nephew in the back with a ghost gun; police responding to the scene then fatally shot the man.
2019-11-14CASanta ClaritaA teen killed two, wounded three others, and shot himself in a school shooting with a ghost gun.
2019-11-3MIMontcalm CountyWoman accidentally shot herself with homemade firearm.
2019-9-8HIHonoluluA ghost gun was used in fatal shooting.Complaint
2019-8-9CARiversideA man with a felony conviction shot at officers, killing one, with a ghost AR-15.
2019-6-19CASacramentoA man killed a police officer with an illegal AR-15, assembled from parts.
2018-11-15MDDundalkFelon did armed robberies with ghost gun, fired gun in two robberies.Sentencing Memo
2018-9-19WIDane CountyA man used a ghost gun to shoot four coworkers before being shot and killed by police.
2018-6-23CASan DiegoA college student opened fire with a ghost gun on officers and firefighers responding to his apartment.
2018-6-13CODenverA man killed in a police shootout had a handgun made from build kit sold online.
2018-6-2ORMultnomah CountyMystery novelist bought a Glock gun kit online and allegedly used the gun to murder her husband.
2018-5-12KSLeavenworthA man accidentally shot himself with ghost gun.
2017-11-14CATehama CountyA felon built a ghost AR-15 and killed five people and injured at least ten people.
2017-9-16MAPepperell19-year-old man shot himself in leg with ghost gun.
2016-7-14MDBaltimoreMan shot and killed by police had homemade AR-15 that he shot at cops with.
2015-7-21CAWalnut CreekA college student killed his girlfriend and himself with ghost guns.
2014-7-16CASan Joaquin CountyThree men used a ghost gun AK to shoot at responding officers during a bank robbery.
2013-6-7CASanta MonicaA man failed a background check, then made an AR-15 and killed five people.

Ghost Guns Recoveries

CityStateGhost Gun Recoveries Statistics
PhoenixAZ"OX 10 Phoenix reported on the circulation of ghost guns in the area and spoke to authorities about their efforts to get these weapons off the streets. According to FOX 10, police said their agency seized 30 ghost guns in 2020 and collected 31 in the first six months of 2021. "
Daly CityCA"Only one ghost gun was recovered in 2019 in Daly City, but 10 each were seized in 2020 and 2021, according to Daly City Police Department Sgt. Brandon Scholes — most seized in conjunction with drug possession or drug sales."
Humboldt CountyCA"Out of the roughly 100 firearms seized by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force last year, Nantz said an estimated 20 to 40 would qualify as ghost guns. A ghost gun is any gun that doesn’t have a serial number and thus can’t be traced."
Los AngelesCA"ghost guns had been linked to 24 murders, eight attempted murders, 20 robberies and 60 assaults with a deadly weapon by the end of last November."
"According to the LAPD, the department recovered 1,921 ghost guns in 2021, more than double the 813 ghost guns recovered in 2020. A representative from the department told CNN the LAPD did not begin separately tracking the number of ghost guns recovered until 2020, further underscoring how quickly ghost guns have proliferated throughout the city."
PasadenaCA"Pasadena police estimate that about 10% to 12% of the 250 firearms they have recovered so far this year have been ghost guns."
Redwood CityCA"The Redwood City Police Department reported that two ghost guns were recovered in 2019 and in 2020, of 75 and 57 total guns, respectively. By comparison, seven ghost guns out of 56 guns total were recovered by December 2021."
San DiegoCA"According to the SDPD, 545 ghost guns were recovered by the department in 2021. There were 211 in 2020 and 52 in 2019."
San DiegoCA"According to SDPD, during the first two months of the year, police also recovered 372 firearms, 77 of which were ghost guns, banned in the city."
San FranciscoCA"Police in San Francisco seized 1,089 guns in 2021, about 20% of which were ghost guns. Just five years prior in 2016, ghost guns made up less than 1% of total gun seizures. The city's police department also reported that nearly half of the firearms recovered in homicide cases in 2020 were ghost guns."
San MateoCA"The city of San Mateo reported 16 ghost guns recovered in 2021, an increase of 166% since 2019."
Santa Clara CountyCA""In 2015, we recovered four ghost guns in our county. Last year, 293," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said."
South San FranciscoCA"In South San Francisco, nine ghost guns were recovered in 2019; in 2021, over a fourth of the 46 firearms recovered were homemade firearms, according to Sgt. Sean Curmi."
DenverCO"In Denver, 38 ghost guns used to commit crimes have been recovered by police since November 2019, according to the City Attorney’s Office. That means ghost guns account for about 2% of firearms recovered in Denver."
ChicagoIL"Last year, police seized more than 300 "ghost" guns in Baltimore, 455 in Chicago and 225 in New York City, according to the respective police departments. "
SpringfieldMA"A total of 255 illegally possessed firearms were seized department-wide last year, of which 131 were large capacity firearms and 27 were so-called “ghost guns” with removed or altered serial numbers, making them impossible to trace."
BaltimoreMD"Baltimore police seized 345 ghost guns in 2021, up from 12 three years ago, Harrison said. Of those, 32 were linked to a homicide investigation or shooting, the commissioner said." "Prince George’s County police logged 264 ghost guns, compared with 17 three years ago"
OmahaNE"OPD officers say they’ve recovered 16 ghost guns so far in 2021. Three of those were turned over voluntarily for safe-keeping."
StatewideNJ"Law enforcement agencies have recovered 275 illegal ghost guns in New Jersey since the start of February 2021."
BuffaloNY"Buffalo has seen a significant rise in ghost guns this year, with city police having confiscated more than 50 such guns, according to the department. Compare that to all of last year, when city cops recovered five of these firearms. From 2018 through 2020, police seized 15 ghost guns, said Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia."
New YorkNY"Last year, police seized more than 300 "ghost" guns in Baltimore, 455 in Chicago and 225 in New York City, according to the respective police departments."
New YorkNY""In New York City in 2019, we recovered 47 ghost guns. In 2020, we recovered 150 ghost guns," Chief of Intelligence Tom Galati said. "In 2021, that number jumped to 375. And so far in 2022, we have 85 compared to 20 last year.""
RochesterNY"Rochester Police recovered 16 ghost guns in 2020. That number jumped to 45 in 2021 and this year six ghost guns have already been recovered."
PhiladelphiaPA"According to the Attorney General’s office, 630 arrests have been made by this task force between 2017 and 2021 with 1,104 firearms recovered. In 2021, its work led to 202 gun-related arrests which is up 85% from the prior year, and 368 firearms recovered, an increase of 104% from 2020. It recovered 571 ghost guns in Philadelphia in 2021, an increase of 128% from the prior year."
PhiladelphiaPA"The Philadelphia Police Department reported recovering 95 ghost guns in 2019 and 250 in 2020. The number more than doubled in 2021, with 571 ghost guns taken off the streets."
HoustonTX""Ghost guns" are also trending up. In 2019, HFSC received just three. In 2020, they received 16 and in 2021, they handled 43."

Everytown Research & Policy is a program of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to understanding and reducing gun violence. Everytown Research & Policy works to do so by conducting methodologically rigorous research, supporting evidence-based policies, and communicating this knowledge to the American public.

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