Del. One Step Closer To Banning “Ghost Guns”
By a vote of 23-18, the Delaware House of Representatives has passed a bill that would outlaw possession and manufacturing of what are known as “ghost guns”- firearms made with untraceable components sometimes sold as kits.
House Bill 125 was sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D- Bear. Supporters of the measure cited reports from the Giffords Law Center that sales of untraceable firearms parts skyrocketed in 2020.
“From closing the gun show and Charleston loopholes, to passing red flag laws, to expanding background checks, Delaware has been at the forefront of gun safety legislation,” Longhurst said. “Troublingly, individuals are constantly looking for loopholes to circumvent these laws. Ghost guns, which can be easily obtained online and built at home, are a terrifying way to bypass law enforcement, especially for people who are prohibited from possessing a firearm. By passing this comprehensive and common-sense bill, we’re taking an important step toward protecting Delawareans from gun violence by keeping unlicensed firearms out of the hands of criminals.”
According to supporters of the ban, federal law only considers the receiver that houses the firing mechanism to be a firearm and subject to a background check. Other parts such as the barrel can be bought and sold without a check, but unfinished “80% receivers” can be sold without a background check and made functional with minimal effort.
Highlights from the bill:
It would be illegal in Delaware to:
- Possess or manufacture a covert, undetectable or untraceable firearm.
- Transport, ship, transfer, or sell an unfinished firearm frame or receiver.
- Manufacture or distribute a firearm made using a 3D printer.
- Distribute instructions that would allow a 3D printer to manufacture a firearm, firearm, receiver, or major component of a firearm.
- Transport, ship, possess or receive any firearm or receiver with the knowledge that the manufacturer’s serial number has been removed, obliterated or altered.
“Ghost guns are specifically designed to avoid detection and skirt existing law, making them a clear threat to public safety,” State Senator Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, said. “Delaware needs to get ahead of this rapidly evolving technology now and close this loophole once and for all. These homemade weapons can be just as deadly as other types of firearms and are potentially easier to obtain for people legally barred from owning a gun.”
Criminal charges for violating parts of this proposed statute vary between Class D and Class E felonies. Individuals who possess an unfinished firearm frame or receiver with no serial number would have 90 days to comply after the bill’s enactment into law.
The bill heads to the State Senate for consideration.