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First hearing on ghost gun bill set for Wednesday

First hearing on ghost gun bill set for Wednesday
Posted at 10:58 PM, Feb 07, 2022

BALTIMORE — The first hearing on the ghost gun bill in Maryland is set for Wednesday.

Ghost guns are typically sold as kits online in which the parts can be assembled at home. They also don’t have a serial number which makes them untraceable.

The bill, which was formally introduced last month, would prohibit a person from buying, selling or transferring an unfinished frame or receiver if it does not have a serial number.

If passed, it would take effect on January 1, 2023.

RELATED: Push to change ghost gun laws in Annapolis

“It’s definitely concerning. I’m not going to pretend it’s not,” said Del. Stephanie Smith from Baltimore.

What’s also concerning is that buyers can also sidestep Maryland’s gun requirements such as getting a background check.

Smith said ghost guns are becoming a growing problem across the state with police seizing tens of thousands over the years.

Baltimore City is also seeing a rise in ghost guns.

According to police, the department seized only 30 of them in 2019. Two years later in 2021, police seized 352. This year, they’ve already taken more than 35 off the streets.

“Those are just the ones confiscated, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a large universe of those existing otherwise.

Now, legislators are working to ban ghost guns outright.

“There’s just a lot of things technology can do for us that are positive, but it’s also creating a situation where the law has not been able to keep up with the pace of people being able to access these build kits, put them together and subsequently sell them amongst themselves,” she said.

Smith said a ban on ghost guns is receiving support from the federal, state and local level.

She said unlike previous years, she’s hopeful the bill will pass.

“At this point in time, we finally have an all hand on deck feel to addressing the problem,” she said.