Background Briefing: July 12, 2023


The Growing Threat to Public Safety From Ghost Guns

We begin with the latest threat to public safety coming from ghost guns, one of which was used in the recent mass shooting in the streets of Baltimore. Teenagers are buying these ghost gun kits without serial numbers and any restrictions on mail order sales, with more than 50 shootings involving teens using ghost guns since 2019 and 25,785 ghost guns seized by police nationwide last year, a 30% increase over 2021 when 19,344 ghost guns were recovered. Joining us to discuss how Texas Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor is siding with ghost gun manufacturers to say that these kits aren’t firearms is Ryan Busse, a former firearms executive who helped build one of the world’s most iconic gun companies, and was nominated multiple times by industry colleagues for the prestigious Shooting Industry Person of The Year Award. He is currently providing consulting services to progressive organizations with the aim to undo the country’s dangerous radicalization and is the author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America.


An Assessment of the Just-Concluded NATO Summit

Then we get an assessment of the just-concluded NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania and discuss what emerged from the meeting with James Goldgeier, Professor in the School of International Relations at American University, a Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and a Visiting Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. He was Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council Staff and his books include Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy toward Russia after the Cold War, and Not Whether But When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO. We discuss his article at War on the Rocks, “NATO, China, and the Vilnius Summit.”


Erdogan Did Not Steal the Limelight at the Summit or End Up With Much

Then finally we examine the extent to which Turkey’s Erdogan did not steal the limelight at the summit and did not get much although the deal with Sweden’s entry will not be ratified by Erdogan’s parliament until October, giving him more time to haggle for more concessions. Joining us is Henri Barkey, professor of international relations at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as a member of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff working primarily on the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean, and intelligence and has authored, co-authored, and edited five books, among them Turkey’s Kurdish Question and Reluctant Neighbor: Turkey’s Role in the Middle East.