Getting Answers: increase in illegal gun seizures in Springfield

Getting Answers: increase in illegal gun seizures in Springfield
Getting Answers: increase in illegal gun seizures in Springfield
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 3:38 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - There has been an increase in illegal gun seizures in Springfield and the effort has taken more than 50 firearms off the streets, including 13 ‘ghost guns,’ just this year.

“So, (in) ‘22, we had 11 more than in ‘21 and so far, we’re set to far outpace that with 13 ‘ghost guns’ here today,” said Springfield Police Capt. Brian Keenan.

The Springfield Police Department is continuing to crack down on efforts to get illegal guns off the streets. Keenan, who’s with the city’s firearms investigation unit, told Western Mass News that the number of ‘ghost guns’ seized is on the rise in the city.

“They are readily available. They are ordered online through the internet, made in homes, distributed fairly easily, distributed throughout the area,” Keenan added.

Springfield Police shared an example of one of those websites where you can purchase a ‘ghost gun,’ which is a gun sold in parts to be easily assembled and it does not have a serial number, which makes them more difficult to trace if used in a crime.

“The majority of the folks we arrest with guns are prior offenders. Often times, they are out on bail for other firearms charges. These ‘ghost guns’ are privately manufactured firearms. They are dangerous. Often times, they misfire. Often times, they made in subpar conditions and there’s no legitimate reason for people to have them,” Keenan explained.

Here’s a breakdown of the total number of illegal firearms seized by Springfield Police since 2020:

  • 2020 – 274 guns
  • 2021 – 255 guns
  • 2022 – 314 guns
  • 2023 (to date) - 78 guns

Meanwhile, State Senator John Velis told us there is proposed legislation on the table at the State House regarding ‘ghost guns.’

“The subject matter, from a lawmaker standpoint, is we’ve got this problem. We know we need to do something about it. Let’s kind of combine all these bills that are out there and see if we can come up with some type of consensus because people’s lives depend at it…Bills that have been filed this session haven’t even been referred to committees yet, so it’s very young in the legislative session and very premature,” Velis explained.

Keenan added that ‘ghost guns’ are not just an issue in Springfield.

“We’ve arrested several juveniles in the past month or so with firearms and the accessibility of these ‘ghost guns’ are a major problem throughout the country,” Keenan said.

The Springfield Police Department is also encouraging parents to be on the lookout for what their kids are ordering online.