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May 3, 2023

Legislation to Crack Down on Ghost Guns Passes Committee

DENVER, CO - The House Judiciary Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Representatives Andrew Boesenecker and Junie Joseph to save more Colorado lives from gun violence by prohibiting the possession, sale, or transfer of unserialized firearms, frames, and receivers. The bill passed by a vote of 9 to 4.

“Ghost guns bypass the life-saving firearm protections that the Colorado legislature has implemented in recent years to keep our communities safe from senseless gun violence,” said Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, D-Fort Collins. “When someone evades a background check by assembling an unserialized firearm, it means that someone may have access to a gun even if they’re prohibited from possessing one. By requiring people to register unserialized firearm parts, we can keep dangerous weapons out of our communities and save more Colorado lives.”

“Once someone has all of the necessary parts, they can put together a ghost gun in under an hour,” said Rep. Junie Joseph, D-Boulder. “Because these weapons are unregulated and untraceable, it can be impossible for law enforcement to track down a suspect when a gun crime has been committed. This commonsense legislation will crack down on ghost guns to reduce crime and keep our communities safe by limiting access to dangerous, untraceable firearms.”

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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