SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Do-it-yourself ‘ghost guns,’ which can be legally purchased in pieces and then put together, are becoming a go-to weapon for felons in Onondaga County who can’t buy already-made guns the legal way.

In 2019, 23 ‘ghost guns’ were seized by police in Onondaga County. That’s up from the eight that were found the year before. Before 2018, only one had ever been found.

“Ghost guns” are put together from pieces that are individually, and legally, purchased over the internet. The pieces come with an instruction manual.

Because the pieces don’t have serial numbers, the guns aren’t traceable back to a previous owner and felons or spousal abusers can bypass the regular background checks that would prevent them from legally purchasing a weapon.

This is a problem that’s already alarmed Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, but Monday, he invited Sen. Chuck Schumer to Syracuse for some help.

Schumer is pushing the federal government’s Justice Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to refine the decades-old definition of a firearm to include the individual pieces, making them harder to sell.

Sellers would have to register the parts and buyers would need to go through background checks.

Schumer hopes the change will happen within months.

Full press conference:

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