RELEASE: SENATOR DE LEÓN CALLS FOR BAN OF GHOST GUNS “If Congress isn’t going to protect the public -- we will”

Monday, January 13, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Flanked by representatives from law enforcement and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Senator Kevin de Leόn (D-Los Angeles) today unveiled legislation to ban the sale, manufacture, purchase and trafficking of plastic and self-assembled firearms – often referred to as “ghost guns” -- in California.  Senate Bill 808 requires self-made or assembled guns to contain permanent pieces of metal and to be registered with the Department of Justice through a serial number and gun owner background check.

Senator De Leόn was joined at the press conference by Stephen Lindley, Chief, Bureau of Firearms, California Department of Justice; Nick Wilcox, California Chapters, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; Lieutenant Wayne Bilowit from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; and Deputy Chief Ken Bernard and Captain Mike Bray from the Sacramento Police Department.

“Advances in technology, particularly 3D printers, have created a threat of plastic and self-assembled firearms,” said Senator De Leόn.  “We’re even beginning to see an emerging industry and market for untraceable and undetectable ghost guns.”

The firearms are called ghost guns because they do not have serial numbers and the owners have not undergone background checks because nobody even knows the guns exist.

“If Congress isn’t going to protect the public – we will,” said Senator De Leόn, referring to Congressional failure last year to address the threat posed by newly developed plastic guns.

Last December, Congress approved a 10-year extension of the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act but did not include amendments which would require that metal pieces in guns be permanent, so an individual could smuggle a 3D printed plastic gun through a metal detector and onto a plane by simply removing any detectable components.

The development of technologies that make the manufacture of lethal weapons accessible to the general public also raises questions about whether homemade guns are being made by dangerous individuals.  “Gun parts can be obtained online or now with 3D printers made at home, leaving no way for law enforcement to ensure that prohibited individuals are not making ghost guns on their own,” said Senator De Leόn.  “No one knows they exist and there is no way to know if criminals are circumventing firearms laws by making these guns.”

SB 808 is supported by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence.


Video of the Press Conference