CHARLOTTE — A 13-year-old was shot in the chest by someone who had a gun without a serial number, according to a police report.
It happened along Westwinds Court in northwest Charlotte around 8 p.m. Wednesday, the report said. The area is between Interstate 485 and Mount Holly-Huntersville Road.
There are candy canes on the front door of the home -- a sign that the family inside hoped it would be a Merry Christmas. Then, gunfire rang out.
Few details have been released because of the age of the victim and the apparent age of the minor. According to a police report, a 13-year-old was shot in the chest with a polymer 80 gun that didn’t have a serial number. He survived and is still in the hospital, where his family spent most of Thursday by his side.
Police charged a minor who, according to the police report, doesn’t live here. They were charged with possession of a firearm and drug charges.
Channel 9 is asking police about the weapon with no serial number. Experts like gun store owner Larry Hyatt call it a “ghost gun.”
“Unscrupulous people would order them, put them together and resell them,” Hyatt said. “And they would sell them to people who were underage, people who had criminal records. And this gets around all our gun safety laws.”
Hyatt said people can go online and get instructions on how to make a weapon like that. Ghost guns often go to people who can’t legally buy a gun, like people who are underage or who have criminal records, he said.
“New technology, 3D printing, polymer companies are able to make 80% of the gun,” Hyatt said. “Then, the buyer can find the other parts online to make the gun as lethal as any other weapon.”
All of Hyatt’s guns have serial numbers.
Ghost guns: A concerning uptick
Channel 9 has been warning about ghost guns for years. In 2019 alone, local Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents said they found four ghost guns used in crimes in our area. Because they don’t have serial numbers, they’re especially hard to track.
The ATF reported seizing 45,000 ghost guns from 2016 to 2021.
Police in New York City seized a record number of ghost guns this year. They have been recently used to shoot at police in Philadelphia, and in another incident, a teen shot and killed another teen with ghost gun in Minnesota.
Hyatt worries the growing problem could get worse as technology improves.
“Making a homemade firearm could get easier in times to come,” he said.
(WATCH BELOW: Law enforcement worried about more homemade ‘ghost guns’ on Charlotte streets)
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