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May 5, 2023

Legislation to Crack Down on Ghost Guns Advances

DENVER, CO - The House today advanced legislation sponsored by Representatives Andrew Boesenecker and Junie Joseph on a preliminary vote to prevent gun violence and save lives prohibiting the possession, sale, or transfer of unserialized firearms, frames, and receivers.

“Homemade guns created from untraceable and unserialized parts allow a gun owner to evade federal and state firearm laws that protect communities and prevent crime,” said Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, D-Fort Collins. “All too often, these ghost guns can end up in the hands of people who are at risk of harming themselves or others. This legislation cracks down on ghost guns to better protect our communities from senseless gun violence and improve accountability for victims and their families.”

“Gun violence has devastated communities throughout Colorado, and gun crimes are becoming an increasingly common threat,” said Rep. Junie Joseph, D-Boulder. “Now, through DIY kits or 3D printers, almost anyone can access a gun on demand without having to go through a background check process. This bill is a critical step in preventing Colorado youth and criminals from accessing an unserialized gun to protect our communities.”

SB23-279 aims to prevent further gun violence by cracking down on “ghost guns”, which are unregulated and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home. Ghost guns are designed to avoid all gun laws and are available to purchase without a background check, serial number, sale record, or other protections.

Under the bill, if an individual has an unserialized firearm, frame or receiver, they have until January 1, 2024 to have it serialized. A background check would be required before the owner could receive their item after it had been serialized. Serialization records must be kept and available for law enforcement.

It also prohibits the possession of a “machine gun conversion device” which turns a firearm into a machine gun and imposes the same penalties as in current law for possessing a machine gun.

Ghost guns are often constructed using unfinished frames or receivers and are easily accessible through a 3D printing device. Once assembled, ghost guns look, feel, and function exactly like traditional guns and are equally as deadly and dangerous. These weapons have been connected to suicides, homicides, mass shootings, robberies, and domestic violence throughout the country. Since 2016, the number of ghost guns used in crimes throughout the USA increased by 1000%, yet over 99% of those guns can’t be traced back to a user or owner. When a gun used in a crime is untraceable, it can be impossible for a gun violence victim and their family to seek accountability.

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