“An Instrument of Death”: The Phantom Weapons Problem in California


Hello and welcome to Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, November 15. I am Justin Ray.

California Police Department are reporting an increase in “ghost guns.”

The Los Angeles Police Department said in a report released last month that detectives have linked the untraceable guns to 24 murders, eight attempted homicides and dozens of assaults and armed robberies since January.

In the first half of this year, the department confiscated 863 phantom weapons, an increase of nearly 300% from the 217 it seized during the same period last year, according to the report.

But it’s not just Los Angeles. In 2020, California accounted for 65% of all phantom guns seized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a statement from San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin’s office said.

Here’s everything you need to know about them:

What is a ghost gun?

As we reported , weapons are usually made of polymer parts created with 3D printing technology and can be assembled using kits at home. They are often relatively inexpensive. Because they are not made by licensed manufacturers, they lack serial numbers, making them virtually impossible to track.

Who uses them?

Criminals banned from possessing firearms because of past offenses are increasingly turning to phantom weapons, LAPD officials said.

Criminals can bypass background checks and “within minutes they have an instrument of death in their hands,” California Atty. General Rob Bonta said. “It leaves law enforcement in the dark and leaves us all less safe.”

Where else in California have they been a problem?

  • Ghost guns have been officially banned in the city of San Diego. In September, Mayor Todd Gloria signed Elimination of Untraceable Unserialized Firearms, or ENUF, ordinance, making guns illegal to buy and sell. The number of phantom guns seized by San Diego police dropped from a handful a few years ago and now accounts for more than 20% of all firearms officers confiscated, according to the department.
  • In San José, there has been an increase in the number of illegal weapons confiscated. The department removed 844 guns from the streets in 2020, according to CBS San Francisco / Bay Area. This year, through August, they have already seized 862 illegal firearms. Police say the increase is in part due to guns that can’t be found.
  • Dist. of San Francisco. Atty. Chesa Boudin sues three Californian companies who manufacture and distribute weapons. Blackhawk Manufacturing Group, GS Performance and MDX Corp. are responsible for producing much of the guns found in the city and elsewhere in the state, according to Boudin. Atty of California. General Rob Bonta has joined the trial. In San Francisco, police seized 164 phantom weapons in 2020, an increase of 2,600% from the six confiscated in 2016.

And now, here’s what’s happening in California:

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Health officials in California and elsewhere, increasingly worried about a possible outbreak of coronavirus in winter, are accelerating the surge of COVID-19 booster injections. While federal guidelines say adults who are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of where they live or work can get recalls, state and local health officials are urging pharmacies, medical centers and other vaccine distributors to adopt a more liberal view. This means allowing any adult to receive the booster as long as two months have passed since receiving an injection of Johnson & Johnson, or at least six months since receiving a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. . In California, only 34% of people aged 65 and over who were fully vaccinated were boosted, as were only 14% of adults who were fully vaccinated. Los Angeles Times

A pharmacist prepares Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines in Daly City, California.

(Associated press)


Explain Hollywood: How To Get A Goofing Job. To set the mood for a scene in a movie, TV show, or video, filmmakers give audiences plenty of visual cues – through location, props, soundtrack, even camera angles. . But an important and often subtle signal is sent through lighting, which often involves lamps, shades and filters even when the sun is shining. The way the light falls on a character in a scene can set the emotional tone of the story, as can wrapping a character in darkness. How do you get such a work of lighting orchestration? We spoke with experts in the field about the qualities you find in a gaffer and how to start a career in this field. Los Angeles Times

Being a gaffer is part technical, part artistic, said David Goodman, who works as such in Hollywood.

Being a gaffer is part technical, part artistic, said David Goodman, who works as such in Hollywood.

(Illustration by Michelle Rohn for The Times.)

Los Angeles is leading a growing shift to the “community schools” model. In 2019, United Teachers Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a contract capping class sizes and increasing teacher salaries. Another part of the deal that has received less attention funded 30 LAUSD campuses as community schools, which provide social services to students and families beyond the school day and strengthen study programs. with artistic and academic programs. “This approach turns the school site into a hub for the community where families access health, socio-emotional, mental health and enrichment support for students during and after normal school hours.” class, ”says LAUSD on its website. The community model is gaining ground nationally. Capital and principal

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The California State Auditor retires after decades of uncovering billions of fraud and mismanagement. Elaine Howle’s work led to major reforms of the state. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called her out when they suspect state agencies are abusing money or mismanaging their operations. . “If we have evidence to say something, I’ll say it, and I’ll be the one to take the heat,” Howle said when asked about some of his more controversial audit results. KCRA 3 spoke to Howle about his legacy and the most important audit cases. KCRA 3


California solar company owner sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for deceiving investors into a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, prosecutors say. In January 2020, Jeff Carpoff, 50, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and money laundering. His wife, Paulette Carpoff, admitted to laundering money and plotting to commit an offense against the United States. Their company, DC Solar, has built mobile solar generators for sporting events and music festivals. The company has attracted at least a dozen investors, including Warren Buffett, whose company has invested $ 340 million. DC Solar, however, only built and leased a fraction of the roughly 17,000 mobile units it claimed to be in use, authorities said. Instead, DC Solar used new investor money to pay off old ones. NPR

Law enforcement agencies across California fail to properly register guns in a state gun database. Each year, the state police and sheriff departments recover thousands of firearms, each of which must be entered into the state’s Automated Firearms System (AFS). If officers know or suspect a firearm has been used in a crime, they must tag it as evidence and identify it as a “criminal” firearm, a tag that ensures that information is channeled to the police. Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for follow-up. But a survey by The Trace and NBC Bay Area shows that between 2010 and 2020, more than 150 California police departments did not report more than half of their criminal weapons to the database. More than 20 people have not designated any firearm as a criminal weapon. The trace


Nations around the world have pledged to tackle two threats to Earth’s climate: methane and forest destruction. Both are major contributors to climate change that California has tried – and struggled with – to combat. California’s methane emissions have largely not increased over the past decade, but neither have they fallen significantly. When it comes to forests, the state is losing the ability of its trees to store the carbon that warms the planet as forest fires burn the state. LAist


In the foothills north of Sacramento there is a church reserved for whites. In interviews with the Bee of Sacramento, Asatru leaders describe their faith as simply a way for whites to reconnect with an ancient belief system practiced by their European ancestors. They say they don’t advocate violence. The church’s website has a section that says, “We are against racial hatred and bullying no matter who practices it. … HAVING SAID THAT (underlined by church), we might add that we are not pitiful ethnomasochists, crawling in front of the court of political correctness, ready to apologize for living. Sacramento Bee

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Los Angeles: Sunny 83 San Diego: Covered 77 San Francisco: Cloudy 65 San José: Cloudy 74 Fresno: Covered 75 Sacramento: Are you from Sacramento? Is it true? Cloudy 68


Famous birthdays:

SNL’s Pete Davidson was born November 16, 1993. I don’t think I dated him, but who can be sure they haven’t dated Pete Davidson?

RuPaul Charles was born on November 17, 1960. We recently had a conversation with Charles and Bowen Yang from SNL.

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