Ghost guns recovered
Six “ghost guns” recovered in the investigation. Courtesy San Diego Police

San Diego County Supervisors Tuesday voted 3-2 to formally adopt an ordinance requiring safe firearm storage and prohibiting the distribution or creation of untraceable “ghost guns” in the county.

As they did earlier this month, Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher and Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas supported the measure, while their colleagues Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond were opposed.

Ghost guns are unregulated firearms that lack serial numbers by which they can be identified and are typically assembled from purchased or homemade components. Minors or those normally prohibited from owning firearms can purchase such a weapon without a background check.

The county ordinance will:

— update definitions regarding firearms to include unserialized ghost guns and parts;

— prohibit the possession or distribution of parts without serial numbers that are used in the creation or possession of ghost guns;

— prohibit 3D printing of firearms or parts; and

— require the safe storage of firearms within a residence or accessory structure.

According to a previous statement from Fletcher’s office, unlike state law, the new ordinance includes the parts of ghost guns in the definitions and prohibitions “because the gun parts are designed to be easily assembled and can quickly become as dangerous as a completed gun.”

Supervisors will also receive an annual report, based on a suggestion from Desmond, on the impact of gun violence within the county.

On Jan. 11, supervisors voted 3-2 to consider adopting the ordinance, and Tuesday’s actions were a second reading per county policy. Last October, the board directed Helen Robbins-Meyer, the county’s chief administrative officer, to draft the ordinance.

 During a Tuesday public call-in period, those in favor of the ordinance said it will reduce gun violence, while opponents said it violated Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, including gun hobbyists.

Rose Ann Sharp, of gun-safety group NeverAgainCA  said the “ordinance is not taking away the right to have a hobby,” and is “smart, supply-side regulation,” as it puts the burdens on gun manufacturers.

Loren Springer, chairman of the San Diego Libertarian Party, asked if the board would outlaw a 3-D printer next, as those can also be used to manufacture firearms. “All the bans in the world will not stop a criminal,” he added.

Instead, Springer later said, the county should be working to end the decades-long war on drugs.

Fletcher said it’s fair for people to disagree with the ordinance, which was initiated amid law enforcement concerns over increasing numbers of ghost guns.

Fletcher said he appreciates law-abiding hobbyists, and would love to work with those who want the drug war ended.

“No one action we take is gonna satisfy (everyone) or solve everything,” Fletcher said.

Supervisors participated in Tuesday’s meeting via teleconference, as a precaution during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. Jan. 25, 2022

–City News Service