A participant in an armed rally shows a gun that has a 3D printed lower receiver, a weapon known as a “ghost” gun. Ford Fischer/News2Share/Handout via REUTERS

Mayor Todd Gloria signed an ordinance Thursday officially banning firearms without individual serial numbers in San Diego in an attempt to address increasing gun violence.

The ban on so-called “ghost guns” – authored by City Councilwoman Marni von Wilpert – aims to keep the untraceable weapons out of the hands of people prohibited from having firearms.

Gloria called the situation “a threat to public safety.”

“Addressing the proliferation of ghost guns aligns with my commitment to have San Diego lead on gun violence prevention,” he said.

The law, known as the “Eliminate Non-serialized Untraceable Firearm Ordinance,” prohibits the possession, purchase, sale, receipt and transportation of non-serialized, unfinished frames and receivers, and non-serialized firearms, all of which are commonly known as ghost guns.

“Thank you to Mayor Gloria for standing with me to protect our communities from gun violence by signing the ENUF Ordinance into law for the city of San Diego,” von Wilpert said. “The spread of untraceable `ghost guns’ is fueling gun violence in our city and I thank the mayor for his commitment to keep firearms out of the hands of people who pose danger to our communities.”

The guns, also known as “do-it-yourself guns,” are untraceable due to the lack of identifying markings. People who use them can can evade state and federal regulations that apply to firearms such as background checks.

Manufacturers, secondary retailers and websites sell the gun kits. There are numerous websites and videos online that explain how to complete the assembly with minimal effort.

The council considered the ordinance after an April 22 fatal shooting outside a hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, in which the suspect used a ghost gun. The convicted felon, who was prohibited from owning firearms, also allegedly shot and wounded several people before being tackled by bystanders and arrested.

In 2020, San Diego saw a 169% increase in the number of ghost guns retrieved and impounded compared to the previous year.

This year, San Diego already has surpassed the number of ghost guns impounded in all of 2019 and 2020. Police expect the number of ghost guns recovered to double by the end of this year.

The vast majority of ghost guns recovered by SDPD are seized from people who cannot pass state or federal background checks because of a felony or violent misdemeanor conviction. Some people are prohibited due to mental illness.

Nearly 20% of weapons seized as part of criminal investigations during the first half of the year were ghost guns, police said.

According to a SDPD report, gang-related violent crime increased in the first six months of 2021, including a 129% jump in gang-related shootings.

This is compared though to the same period last year, which saw a significant drop in most violent crime due to COVID-19-related lockdowns.

Police Chief David Nisleit pointed to “new measures to address” the violence before the City Council in August, including a Violence Reduction Plan and new Ghost Gun Team.

“Every San Diegan deserves to feel safe, and we believe these efforts will help us in reaching that goal,” he said.

With the mayor’s signature, the ordinance goes into effect on Oct. 23.

– City News Service

Show comments