KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Law enforcement officials say that a "ghost gun" used in a Lenexa murder-suicide over the weekend may be the first in a high profile case in the Kansas City area.
Besides discovering three people shot inside a Lenexa house Sunday morning, a search warrant shows officers found several guns and a knife associated with the suspect, Dustin Johnson, who killed himself at the scene.
Police note Johnson's assault rifle had no serial numbers and was made using various parts. It's what law enforcement call a "ghost gun."
"And that gun doesn't have to have the required markings that a gun that we walk into a gun store and purchase has to have," John Ham, public information officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Kansas City, said.
It's an alternative for those who can't legally purchase a firearm.
According to court and Kansas Department of Corrections records, Johnson was a convicted felon following a 2008 theft case out of Linn County, Kansas.
The ATF said parts for a ghost gun can made on a 3-D printer or bought on the web, they even offer kits.
"You can put this thing together in 45 minutes to an hour with very limited firearms expertise, and you have a fully functioning firearm," Ham said.
It's a problem that the Midwest is beginning to see after it's exploded on the coasts where there's strict gun laws.
In San Diego, California, police recovered more than 500 ghost guns last year, a 1,000% increase from 2019. They've created a special unit to target the issue.
Police in Buffalo, New York, are also seeing more ghost guns according to a report by WKBW.
In the Kansas City area, some criminals are using loopholes in the law, but most are sticking to traditional means.
"Throughout this part of the Midwest, crime guns are typically stolen guns," Ham said. "It's been that way for a long time and it will remain that way because there's a lot, we're a very gun friendly culture."
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.