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Council to Conduct the First Reading of Ghost Gun Ordinance

Published on Monday, August 15, 2022 | 5:00 am
A 9mm, unserialized “ghost gun” recovered by police from a repeat felon at the end of a short pursuit in Pasadena on Sept. 4, 2020. (Credit: Pasadena Police Department)

The City Council will conduct the first reading of an unserialized firearm ordinance.

The ordinance adopts a prohibition on the possession of ghost guns and ghost gun kits, unserialized firearms, and does not provide a “safe harbor” if, before January 1, 2024, users have applied for a serial number for their (presently) unserialized firearm. 

A ghost gun is a term for a homemade, personally manufactured, firearm that lacks commercial serial numbers and can easily become untraceable due to the lack of identifying markings. Various firearms can be commonly assembled from ghost gun kits that can be purchased from various manufacturers or secondary retailers.

On June 30, the Governor signed AB 1621, which creates a new statutory scheme pertaining to firearm regulation, and closes the loophole previously discussed by staff.

AB 1621 was an urgency bill which went into effect immediately. Of note, AB 1621 redefines one of the definitions of “firearm” as including a precursor part (which could include ghost guns and ghost gun kits), and prohibits a person from possessing or manufacturing a firearm precursor part without authorization. 

The bill does not, on its face, preempt charter cities from enacting more stringent firearm regulations.

In the report, the Pasadena Police Department said more than 14 percent of the guns seized in the last year have been unserialized and untraceable ghost guns. The number is trending closer to 16 percent for the current year, the report said.

“Disturbingly, little is known about who sells ghost guns, who buys them, and how much they are used in crime,” the report said. Unless laws are strengthened against criminals and gun holders, the problem of indiscriminate violence could continue,” the Police Department said.

“Unregulated sellers will continue to offer ghost gun building kits, traffickers will continue to make and sell completed untraceable ghost guns, and more of these guns will end up in the hands of prohibited and often dangerous individuals. That is causing more deaths, injuries, and trauma to our communities, including our city,” the Police Department said.

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