LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted Tuesday for an ordinance banning the possession, purchase, receipt and transportation of “ghost weapons”.
The regulation was requested through a motion by councilors Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian, which also passed unanimously through the council.
“There is no question that ghost weapons are an epidemic nationwide, but today we have an obligation to protect the life of Angelenos and this is a step we can take to do all of that,” Koretz said before the vote on Tuesday.
The ordinance prohibits the possession, purchase, sale, receipt, or transportation of a non-serialized unfinished firearm frame or receiver, or a non-serialized firearm. Such a weapon – known as “ghost guns” because it is virtually impossible to find – can be assembled from legally purchased kits by unlicensed buyers. The unfinished parts are inexpensive and not required under federal law to have serial numbers or a background check available for purchase. An AR-15 ghost gun kit and bottom receiver can be purchased for $ 345, according to gun control organization Everytown For Gun Safety.
Violation of the city bylaws would result in a fine of up to $ 1,000 and / or up to six months in prison.
“We now have an entire industry of manufacturers whose soul purpose is to bypass background checks, to make a product that will lead to death, destruction and violence with impunity across our country because these weapons have no background checks and the ability to be traced “said Krekorian.
On Monday, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, both D-California, sent a letter to Council President Nury Martinez expressing their support for the regulation.
“This regulation is an important measure to keep unsized and undetectable firearms, known as ‘ghost guns’, off our streets. Similar initiatives have already been implemented in San Diego and San Francisco, and we commend the Los Angeles City Council for considering a similar move, “the letter said.
Ghost pistols made up more than 40% of the weapons seized by the Federal Office for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a third of the criminal weapons recovered by Los Angeles Police in 2020.
On October 19, the LAPD reported to the police commission about the “epidemic” of ghost weapons, which, according to the department, had “increased exponentially over the past year”.
“The current trend shows that these numbers will continue to grow exponentially,” says the LAPD report, which states that 3D printing enables component accessibility.
“‘Ghost weapons’ are replacing firearms that people would normally buy with no background checks,” the report said.
Between January and June of this year, 863 ghost cannons were recovered, more than the 813 in all of 2020 the LAPD.
“It is rising dramatically and will eclipse last year’s total, possibly by more than 1,000 weapons,” LAPD deputy chief Kris Pitcher told the police commission on October 19.
Pitcher made a link between an increase in ghost weapons and an increase in crime.
“In 2021, the city saw 320 homicides, we are up 15.9%, and in terms of shootings we have 1,165 so far, which is a 20% increase. Ghost rifles are recovered more often.”
Between January and September, 14 ghost weapons were recovered from murder scenes, 15 from robbery and 50 from attacks with deadly weapons, the police said.
Ghost pistols were also used during a 2013 shooting at Santa Monica College that killed six people, including the shooter; during a series of shootings in Tehama County in 2017 that killed five people; and in the 2019 shootout at Saugus High School that killed three students, including the shooter, and injured three others.
“There are no federal restrictions on who can buy ghost weapon kits … and they are being deliberately marketed as unregulated and undetectable to appeal to people who are banned from buying firearms locally,” Koretz said when requesting enactment Ordinance went to town It is absolutely ridiculous to think that the manufacture, sale, and marketing of these guns are intended for anything but circumventing a loophole in state and federal gun laws in order to get firearms into the hands of people that law enforcement agencies and we as a society have found unfit to own these weapons. “
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