Two Santa Clara County supervisors and the district attorney are backing county legislation that would ban possession of ghost guns, these are guns which have no serial numbers, following cities in the Bay Area and throughout the state in trying to supplement state laws on home-assembled firearms that authorities say are routinely used to evade investigations of gun violence.
Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Otto Lee announced they are co-writing a referral for consideration by the Board of Supervisors on March 8 aimed at cracking down on unserialized firearms that local law enforcement say are turning up on the streets at record numbers.
The announcement also comes on the back of arrests last week that revealed a home-based ghost gun-making operation running out of a suburban house in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood.
“Ghost guns have no serial numbers, making them untraceable, and you don’t need background checks,” Chavez said at a Wednesday news conference.
According to the district attorney’s office, the number of ghost guns recovered and linked to crimes investigated in Santa Clara County have increased from 4 in 2015 to 293 last year. Between 2020 and 2021, that figured doubled from 141.
“It’s at a level we have never seen before,” Rosen said. “They can be built in a living room, sold on the black market, and placed in the hands of a dangerous felon within hours … These guns are not being made by hobbyists who are doing this for fun.”
Lee added that plastic gun components made from 3D printers adds a dimension of making home-made firearms pass through metal detectors. A pending state law addresses that concern by mandating that a plastic part must contain a serial number engraved on a piece of metal large enough to alert metal detectors.
“It’s really time to nip this issue in the bud before things get worse,” he said. When asked for details, Rosen acknowledged that what exactly the proposed ordinance in Santa Clara County would do has not been determined at this stage. Rosen has confirmed that he and the supervisors have several local examples to look to for models.
The Oakland City Council approved a ghost gun ban over the past month to respond to surging gun violence in the city. They called it a key move to strike back against a spate of gun violence across the city.
“We don’t pretend that one new law is going to end gun violence in the next month in Oakland or any other city,” said council member Dan Kalb ahead of the vote. “But any additional thing we can do that makes it a little bit harder, I think, is worth the effort.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: MERCURY NEWS