CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is a new threat to law enforcement: home-made guns assembled with do-it-yourself kits readily available on the internet. Now they are are turning up on the streets.
They are known as "ghost guns" because their existence isn't recorded anywhere. They do not require serial numbers, a state gun card or any other paperwork, and under current federal and Illinois law that is OK.
As law enforcement is inundated with surging shootings, murders and street violence, criminals are making their own arsenals with kits bought on the internet.
Kristen deTineo, Special Agent in Charge for the Chicago Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the ABC7 Iteam agents are coming across these guns more often.
"As part of Operation legend we have made numerous arrests, including one where the suspect was in possession of what we are now calling "self made un-serialized firearms," she said. "Typical slang term for those are ghost guns."
On the Internet there is nothing invisible about "ghost guns." Easily accessible websites advertise the kits for popular name brand pistols and rifles.
"It is not illegal for them to make," deTineo said. "When we start having issues is it is still illegal to shoot someone with it, or to use it in crimes like that. It is illegal for a person who is prohibited from possessing firearms to possess."
Some ghost gun websites that advertise part kits for hundreds of dollars each also claim to be sold out of many models. It is a growing concern for the ATF and other agencies.
"When they come into trouble is when they start transferring those to other people, and it is still illegal to use them and commit crimes with them, so they are harder for us to trace because there is no serial number," said deTineo.
Last week, recent state prison parolee Darryl Collins of Dolton was arrested by Chicago police.
According to a federal complaint, CPD patrol officers spotted Collins with a gun near 82nd and Maryland in Chicago. As they chased the ex-con, police said his gun went off and he tossed it aside.
After taking him into custody, police said they found the gun and determined it had been homemade.
However, because such a weapon is not strictly illegal, federal prosecutors charged him with being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Collins has a 10 year violent criminal history and was just paroled from Illinois' Lawrence state prison last November.