By Kevin Deutsch
A local legislator is taking aim at so-called “ghost guns,” working to ban their creation as a way of reducing gun violence.
Florida Representative Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland) on Monday filed legislation that would ban the home manufacture of unfinished firearms, which have no serial number and are virtually impossible to trace if used in a crime.
With the help of 3D printers and the proliferation of do-it-yourself mail kits, the homemade guns are being produced across the U.S.
House Bill 527: Unfinished Firearms makes it illegal for a person to possess, purchase, transport or receive an unfished firearm. HB 527 also includes a provision that a person may not manufacture a firearm without a serial number in accordance with federal law.
“This legislation is not about the right to own a gun, but about the ability to trace a gun that is used in a crime,” Hunschofsky said. “It is important that law enforcement have the tools they need to do their job.”
Also known as privately manufactured firearms, ghost guns are an increasing source of weapons for criminals and pose an emerging threat to public safety, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The sale of ghost gun parts and kits have increased significantly in recent years, as has the use of ghost guns in serious crimes, according to Brady, the nation’s oldest gun-violence-prevention advocacy organization.
In 2020, Carlos A. Canino, the Special Agent in charge of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division, said: “Forty-one percent, so almost half our cases we’re coming across are these ghost guns.”
In 2017, three ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement in the District of Columbia. In 2018, D.C. authorities there found 25 ghost guns. In 2019, 116 ghost guns were recovered in the District, including at least three linked to homicides.
Ghost guns have been used in three separate mass shootings in California; crimes that killed twelve people, including two teenagers. Dozens more were shot and injured.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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