The Illinois chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 4383, legislation to address the threat of ghost guns — unserialized, untraceable homemade firearms, the building blocks of which can be obtained without a background check. The new law will ensure that all firearms are serialized, which would better allow law enforcement to trace firearms used in crimes.
“Ghost guns pose a serious threat to our communities and make it nearly impossible to hold perpetrators of violence accountable,” said Valerie Burgest, a Survivor Fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network and volunteer with the Illinois Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill will give law enforcement officers the tools they need to better protect Illinois’ communities from gun violence and take real steps towards saving lives. We’re grateful to Governor Pritzker for signing this critical bill into law and are proud to live in a state that continues to prove their commitment to gun safety.”
Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing our country. 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. 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.
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. Serializing all firearms would remove barriers that currently prevent local law enforcement officers from investigating gun crimes.
According to Everytown’s new gun law rankings report, Illinois has the sixth strongest gun safety laws in the country and is a national leader in enacting gun violence prevention laws. In an average year, 1,505 people die and 4,148 people are wounded by guns in Illinois. Gun violence costs Illinois $10.6 billion each year, of which $668.9 million is paid by taxpayers. Learn more about gun violence in Illinois here. More information about ghost guns is available here.