By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore police arrested a 21-year-old man on Sunday after they saw him brandishing a firearm on a social media platform, according to authorities.

Members of the Baltimore Police Department’s Southwest District Action Team arrested the man in the 300 block of South Franklintown Road, police said.

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They found the man to be in possession of a Polymer 80 “ghost gun,” a substance that they believe to be crack cocaine, and some money, authorities said.

Ghost guns are firearms made with parts purchased online that allow people to skirt background checks.

Mayor Brandon Scott and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison recently joined Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and officials from across the state to push for a ban on ghost guns.

Last month, Frosh called the level of gun violence in the state “unacceptably high.” The privately made guns, which do not have serial numbers, are not legally classified as regular firearms, allowing buyers to skirt background checks, he said.

“As they specifically advertise, in an hour, or even less, you can have a functional handgun,” the attorney general said of online “ghost” gun kits. “We can no longer tolerate the fiction that these components should not be defined as regulated firearms.”

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The Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a rally in Annapolis last month to push for state lawmakers to pass a bill that would ban ghost guns.

Melissa Ladd, the leader of the Moms Demand Action chapter, said that there has been an exponential rise in the number of ghost guns showing up at crime scenes.

Top law enforcement officials have said they’ve seen an increase in “ghost” guns in their jurisdictions over the last several years.

Baltimore police seized 345 ghost guns in 2021, up from 12 three years ago, Harrison said. Of those, 32 were linked to a homicide investigation or shooting, the commissioner said.

Similarly, Prince George’s County police logged 264 ghost guns, compared with 17 three years ago, said Chief Malik Aziz.

Harrison said Baltimore police have already seized 31 privately made firearms in 2022, far outpacing last year.

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The man was charged with handgun and narcotics violations, according to authorities.

CBS Baltimore Staff