'Ghost guns' growing problem in Santa Clara Co., officials aim for solution with proposed ordinance

The proposal will go before the board of supervisors on March 8.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As one crisis in Santa Clara County winds down, another is on the rise.

While many have focused on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping people safe from violence and crime is becoming a growing problem due to the increase of so-called "ghost guns."

"In 2015, we recovered four ghost guns in our county. Last year, 293," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said.

"I know many of you in our community know that ghost guns in the hands of criminals are a growing problem for law enforcement and for the people that live, work and play in our community," Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said.

"Ghost guns" are firearms that can't be traced and are often bought and sold on the black market, ordered online and assembled at home.

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The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office seized an arsenal of illegal weapons from what they're calling a "sophisticated ghost gun factory."

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In fact, the district attorney's office says ghost gun usage is on the rise in hate crimes and were involved in some of the most high-profile crimes in the county this year.

A car-jacking suspect used a ghost gun in a shootout with San Jose police in January, and on Tuesday, three were arrested for what the DA called a "full scale ghost gun factory" in Willow Glen.

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"Part by illegal part, ghost guns are being brought into Santa Clara County at a level we have never seen before," Rosen said. "People are getting robbed, people are getting murdered and we will not stand by."
County Supervisors Otto Lee and Cindy Chavez have partnered with DA Rosen on an ordinance prohibiting the possession, manufacturing and assembly of ghost guns within county.

It would build upon a state ghost gun regulation law going into effect in July to help ensure safety in the county from what officials call "deadly DIY projects."

"I would like to advise anyone who is thinking to purchase this or buy this online, don't," Lee said. "This is a crime."

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"We will do everything in our power through prevention, through laws and ordinances, police operations and through prosecutions to make these ghost guns disappear,' Rosen said.

The proposal will go before the board of supervisors on March 8.

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