The California chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after AB 1621, legislation to further regulate ghost guns, passed on the Assembly floor. The bill would prohibit the sale of the unserialized parts that are easily converted into untraceable ghost guns by people who cannot legally purchase guns. The vote comes after at least 18 students and one teacher were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School yesterday in Uvalde, Texas.
“The heartbreaking shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde shows just how important it is that we take action to protect our communities from gun violence, including the threat of ghost guns,” said Krystal LoPilato, a volunteer leader with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing our country. This bill will save lives, and we’ll do everything in our power to get it across the finish line. We are grateful for Assemblymember Gipson’s leadership and urge the Senate to swiftly take up this important bill – especially in the wake of gun violence across the country right now.”
Earlier this session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers attended multiple press conferences on the importance of legislation on ghost guns with AB 1621 sponsor, Assemblymember Mike Gipson.
In April, President Biden finalized a rule that will require ghost guns to be treated like the deadly weapons they are. The final rule will update the definitions of “firearm” and “frame or receiver” to cover kits and components easily assembled into untraceable ghost guns. The rule is set to go into effect on August 24. At the event, President Biden was introduced by Students Demand Action volunteer Mia Tretta, who survived a shooting with a ghost gun at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA. Mia also testified in favor of AB 1621, alongside Moms Demand Action volunteers and public safety advocates.
When investigators can trace a gun back to its first sale at retail, law enforcement agencies can have an initial lead in an investigation, identify straw purchasers and traffickers, and figure out how a gun arrived at a crime scene. But ghost guns are impossible to trace, and across the country, law enforcement officers are recovering increasing numbers of homemade, unserialized guns from people who are legally prohibited from having guns. Serializing all firearms would remove barriers that currently prevent local law enforcement officers from investigating gun crimes.
Nearly 2,500 ghost guns were connected to criminal activity in 102 federal cases over the past decade. ATF officials recently estimated that approximately 10,000 ghost guns were recovered across the U.S. in 2019. The problem is growing in California: in 2021, the LAPD recovered 1,921 ghost guns, more than double the 813 ghost guns recovered in 2020.