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A bullet shell casing on the street in the aftermath of the mass shooting on South Street in Philadelphia, which occurred on the night of June 4, 2022. Photo: Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A bullet shell casing on the street in the aftermath of the mass shooting on South Street in Philadelphia, which occurred on the night of June 4, 2022. Photo: Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

An 18-year-old and a ghost gun: A story all too familiar to Philadelphia

One suspect is in custody after charges were announced earlier on Monday, June 6 tied to the mass shooting on South Street.

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More details continue to trickle out on Monday, June 6, about the mass shooting that occurred on Saturday night, June 4, on Philadelphia’s South Street, which left three dead and 11 injured.

After Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that his office expected to formally charge two individuals in connection with the mass shooting on the morning of June 6, one 18-year-old has since been taken into custody.

In the update, first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, it is said the 18-year-old was armed with a ghost gun on the night of the shooting and fired it. The individual is expected to face criminal charges over the incident.

One of the four firearms recovered in the aftermath of the shooting on June 4 was a ghost gun with an extended magazine. 

Videos posted to social media and now further police reports have confirmed that a fistfight preceded the shooting that sent a regular night of partying on South Street into chaos around 11:30 p.m. 

Police responded to seeing one individual firing into the crowds and engaged them, striking them in the hand, causing them to drop their weapon and run away. In the grand scheme of the whole situation, there were multiple shooters, and further arrests have yet to be announced.

Per Brady, one of the U.S.’s oldest gun violence prevention groups, ghost guns are “unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home.” They are often sold online or can be purchased at gun shows in ‘ghost gun kits,’ which include all the necessary parts to build the weapon at home. The kits are also available for anyone to purchase without a background check.

In addition to the still largely open gun market in Pennsylvania, ghost guns have added another option for those wanting a firearm in Philadelphia, further fueling the city’s gun violence crisis, which hit the highest number of homicides on record in 2021 with 562. 

2022 may be nine homicides behind this time last year, but it’s still higher than any year before that. 

Ghost guns: Public enemy number one

Ghost guns largely stayed out of the public’s view until the last few years, as seizures of the weapons have exploded. 

In April 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled a final ruling on the status of ghost guns in the U.S. During the same press conference, Biden said seizures of the weapons were up “tenfold” since 2016 

The final ruling banned the manufacture of unserialized kits and required the serialization of those in circulation. Now, any kit produced must also be serialized. Much like the current moves to enact some gun control measures, Biden faced major opposition from Republicans in Congress for the ruling.

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