A “Ghost Gun” Was Used In Murder Suicide


Dean WeingartenThe “ghost gun” used in the murder/suicide in California was built with off the shelf parts, an 80% receiver, and a fair amount of machining.

The police officer in the video says that crimes committed with guns made this way are rare.  This is the first murder that he has heard of where one was used.

From kron4.com:

WALNUT CREEK (KRON/BCN) — A 21-year-old Lafayette native built the firearms he used to kill a 19-year-old college woman before he turned the gun on himself at a home in Walnut Creek last month, police said Tuesday.

Investigators say Scott Bertics bought gun parts through the mail and then secretly built the two firearms he used in the murder-suicide that claimed the life of Clare Orton.

The reporter noted that a serial number would not have made any difference in this case.

It would have been much easier for the murderer to buy a gun than to make this particular model, even under California’s strict gun laws.

A simple shotgun or rifle could have been purchased for far less than the components of the “ghost gun”California’s notorious 10 day “waiting period” would have taken less time than that required to order the parts, have them shipped, do the machining, and put them together.  There is no indication that the murderer was prohibited from purchasing firearms.

Firearms have been produced in homes for nearly 500 years.  Simple homemade guns are common, effective, untraceable, and impossible to keep from criminals.

David Kopel noted that a federal study found that one-fifth of the guns seized by the police in Washington, D.C., were homemade.  Most homemade guns are considerably simpler and easier to make than “ghost guns”.

In Brazil, where there are extreme restrictions on the legal ownership and purchase of guns, the criminals favor homemade submachine guns.  Murder rates in Brazil are five times greater than in the U.S.


In India, where restrictions on legal guns are similar to Brazil’s, pistols are made in small shops and sold for $10 – $20.   Detailed instructions on how to make them are available on the Internet.  India’s murder rates are slightly lower than the United States. (which is logical if you look at the shear number of people)


Murders are committed with numerous different weapons/tools/objects. Hands and feet are commonly used without any other implements.

Murder rates are driven by culture, not weaponry.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

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