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Ghost Guns Resolution to Come Before Council on Monday

Published on Monday, June 20, 2022 | 5:00 am
A 9mm, unmarked “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 vote as part of Monday’s consent calendar on the crafting of an ordinance that would amend the Pasadena Municipal Code to make it a crime to possess ghost guns and ghost gun kits. 

Ghost guns are do-it-yourself homemade guns made from unregulated gun kits, while ghost gun kits are the receiver portion of a firearm, missing only a few small holes for pins and minor machining. 

Data from the Pasadena Police Department showed that over 14% of the firearms seized in Pasadena last year were ghost guns. The number is trending closer to 16% for the current year. 

Federal and state laws do not regulate ghost gun kits but they do not explicitly hold that they are legal.

Aside from making possession of ghost guns and ghost gun kits illegal, the ordinance that would be crafted, if greenlighted by the City Council, would propose increasing the penalty for such violations to one year in the county or city jail and a $1,000 fine. 

Currently the punishment under the city’s Municipal Code is only a $500 fine. 

Little is known about who sells or buys ghost guns. Since it has no serial number, a ghost gun cannot be traced back to where it came from.

“Law enforcement officers are recovering increasing numbers of homemade, unserialized guns from people who are legally prohibited from having guns. It is easier and cheaper than ever for anyone to make guns. With a do-it-yourself kit ordered online and some commonly available tools, a novice can make their pistol, like a Glock 19, or an assault-style rifle like an AR-15 or AK-47, in just a few hours.” 

“The prevalence of ghost guns and their potential to wreak havoc on gun laws are the predictable failures to regulate unfinished frames and receivers, the building blocks for ghost guns. In the absence of action addressing this threat, stakeholders across the country, state, county and city must search for a solution. One solution is making laws that criminalize such behavior,” a Police Dept. report stated. 

At the end of the meeting, members of the Public Safety Committee offered a minute of silence in honor of the two El Monte police officers who were shot and killed late Tuesday afternoon while responding to a domestic violence report, and to the California Highway Patrol officer who was shot multiple times during a traffic stop Monday night.

As of Tuesday night, the CHP officer remained hospitalized in critical condition, as per reports. 

The recent incidents, said Councilmember Steve Madison, are painful reminders “of the dangers of the job especially in a time when there are way too many guns and way too many shootings.” 

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