In an effort to curb gun violence amid a string of mass shootings across the country, the Public Safety Committee unanimously approved on Wednesday 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.
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.
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.
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.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Councilmember Tyron Hampton also requested that the city staff come back to propose an ordinance on safe storage of firearms.
He made the request after the Pasadena Police Acting Commander Javier Aguilar presented information before the committee about the safe storage of firearms, particularly existing laws on gun storage which were found at the California Penal Code.
It is unclear whether or not the proposed legislation will address loopholes in current gun storage laws but Hampton believes an ordinance is necessary to solidify the city’s stance on safe storage of firearms.
“Personally, I dont think it’s repetitive or not consistent with the way our stance as a city has been as relates to guns, storage and safety and education around guns.”
“I still believe that our city should also have an ordinance. Maybe it’s repetitive to the state ordinance but that’s my personal stance,” said Hampton.
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.”