California bill would further restrict 'ghost guns' and stop sale of firearm parts, kits

The bill would regulate gun kits or parts known as "precursors."
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Proponents of stricter gun laws are rallying behind a new bill working its way through the California Legislature aimed at tackling the untraceability of so-called "ghost guns."

"The bill would create prohibitions and processes surrounding existing ghost guns in California to ensure that those already in circulation are properly serialized by the California Department of Justice," said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action.

AB 1621 was introduced by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, who represents California's 64th Assembly District that includes Southern California communities such as Carson, Compton and Gardena.

The bill would regulate gun kits or parts known as "precursors."

"AB 1621 aims to halt the sale of firearm precursor parts until such unfinished parts are regulated as firearms and frames under the federal law," he said.

"Ghost guns" are virtually untraceable and can be assembled by unlicensed buyers from legally purchased kits.

The bill states sellers and manufacturers of these parts frequently market the products by emphasizing its lack of serial numbers and claim they are less regulated.

Gipson said the restrictions are needed in addition to federal regulations, including those President Joe Biden announced Monday. The new federal regulations would require serial numbers on some components and background checks before the purchase of "ghost guns" and gun parts.

READ MORE | President Joe Biden aims at 'ghost gun' violence with new federal rule
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President Joe Biden on Monday took aim at ghost guns, the privately made firearms without serial numbers that are increasingly cropping up in crimes. Jim Dolan has more on its impact on New York City.

"We have a six-month period which will allow individuals to serialize, legally, through the Department of Justice. We have gun collectors and things of that nature. You have six months, and then this law goes into effect, and it will hold everyone accountable," said Gipson.

Many proponents highlighted a recent uptick of "ghost gun" recovery. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, "ghost guns" accounted for 22% of guns recovered in 2021.

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In November 2021, the L.A. City Council unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance to prohibit the possession, purchase, sale receipt and transportation of "ghost guns."

"The proliferation of ghost guns here on our streets is what led our office to join with every town for gun safety, and suing one of the nation's leading distributors and manufacturers of ghost gun parts and kits," said L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.

Opponents have argued serial numbers do not promote more safety and some say they will sue to challenge the new regulations announced by the White House.

AB 1621 will head to the Assembly Public Safety Committee next week.

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