KANSAS CITY. MO. — There's a deadly problem law enforcement officers say is becoming more common in criminal investigations.
Ghost guns are being used in violent crimes across the nation, including the metro area.
Those guns are untraceable because they do not have serial numbers.
Joshua Rocha, the man charged with killing North Kansas City police officer Danny Vasquez, was building ghost guns at a rented house where he lived with his mother.
Federal agents say local police officers working the streets need to be able to identify ghost guns and know what questions to ask to get a good start in an investigation.
That's why ATF agents from Washington D.C. spent the day training with 160 local law enforcement officers.
KSHB 41 News was not allowed to record the training because undercover officers were there, but the ATF shared pictures with us.
Ghost guns are not nearly as popular as commercially made guns, but the ATF says they are seeing them more often as technology improves.
Federal law permits anyone to manufacture a gun if they're not a convicted felon, not in the country illegally, not addicted to drugs and don't have a court-recognized mental health issue.
However, the problem with the printed weapons or ghost guns, is they are not traceable.
That provides an opportunity for criminals to evade law enforcement efforts.
Most gun parts are not regulated and a gun is not regulated until after it's assembled, according John Ham, spokesperson for the ATF.
ATF agents are especially concerned about 3D printed parts that can be inserted into any gun and instantly turn it into a machine gun, Ham said.
"To the untrained eye, they can look like just a piece of scrap metal or just a piece of plastic, but if it’s inserted into a firearm it has the ability to turn that gun into something completely different and much more deadly," Ham said. "We have to look at them for what they are and the chance they could be used to add to violent crime, to add to the danger to law-enforcement and those are the things we’re focused on today."
The 3D parts that turn guns into machine guns are not as prevalent in Kansas City as they are on the west coast.
But Ham said it's only a matter of time before those parts are used in Kansas City area crimes.
He stressed the importance of officers continuing to get the latest information because the technology is always evolving.