Denver has become the latest city to ban “ghost guns.” What is a ghost gun? It’s a gun that has no serial number or markings, so it can’t be traced to anyone. They aren’t made by traditional gun manufacturers. Some are made using kits or are simply “homemade.”
Under the new law, it’s illegal to possess, carry or use a ghost gun in the city. If law enforcement officers catch someone with a gun that doesn’t have a serial number, they could potentially spend 30 days in jail and/or be fined up to $999. The weapon will also be confiscated.
People can still make their own guns, but “they would need to ensure that the frame or receiver of the weapon bears a serial number, regardless of whether the frame or receiver is ‘complete,’” according to the City Attorney’s Office
City leaders and gun safety advocates have been concerned with the growing problem of ghost guns in recent years. It has recovered nearly 40 such weapons at crime scenes in a little over two years. That’s about two percent of all weapons seized during that period.
Currently, Colorado doesn’t have a state prohibition against ghost guns, as nearly a dozen states do. Denver, however, now joins major cities from coast to coast that have specific local laws regarding ghost guns.
The link between these untraceable weapons and serious crime throughout the country has become stronger. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, between 2016 and 2020, they were found at the scenes of more than 300 homicides or attempted homicides.
As Denver’s city attorney says, “There is no single solution to preventing gun violence in our communities, but this ordinance is an important step toward keeping these unregistered and untraceable firearms off our streets and out of the hands of those banned from gun ownership.”
While Colorado’s gun laws aren’t as stringent as those in many states, the consequences of running afoul of them can be significant. If you’re facing gun charges, whether from violating a local, state or federal law, it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance.