A new bill that aims to prohibit the sale of ghost guns in San Francisco unanimously passed during a committee hearing Thursday and will head to the Board of Supervisors for a full vote. Ghost guns are self-made firearms often purchased online without serial numbers.
"There is a massive loophole in California," said San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who authored the bill. "It's very scary."
Currently, California law allows vendors to sell dissembled ghost gun kits without a serial number on the basis the purchaser will obtain a serial number from the Department of Justice within ten days of assembling.
"As you can imagine, nobody is doing that," said Stefani.
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The San Francisco Police Department's Crime Guns Investigations Center explained during Thursday's hearing most gun vendors don't necessarily inform purchasers of these requirements.
"That means there's no background check, no waiting period, no sales record, and no age restrictions at the time of sale," said Stefani. "We need that to stop."
SFPD told the ABC7 I-Team ghost guns are 'flourishing' in San Francisco.
"There's a big uptick in the use of ghost guns in homicides in San Francisco," said Ellen Ginsberg, a volunteer with the city's local chapter of Mom's Demand Action. "What can police do when they get to a crime scene with an unserialized gun, it stops the investigation right there."
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According to data from SFPD, the seizure of ghost guns have more than doubled from 77 in 2019 to 164 in 2020. Authorities say the rate reported so far this year is on track to surpass that.
The rise also seen statewide in recent years. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 30 percent of all guns seized in California in 2019 were ghost guns. The California Bureau of Firearms reported seizing 512% more ghost guns in 2019 than in 2018.
"We have strict gun laws in California for a reason, so we can prohibit people who shouldn't have firearms from having them," said Stefani.
The bill will be up for a full vote in September.