MA Lawmakers Advocate for Action Needed to Combat Ghost Guns / Public News Service

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Gun safety groups are raising awareness of the phantom gun problem in Massachusetts.

Ghost guns are untraceable firearms without serial numbers, often created by 3D printers or assembled from kits purchased online.

Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield, joined Everytown for Gun Safety, Springfield’s mayor and police commissioner in hosting an awareness event Monday. He pointed to data showing 27 ghost guns were recovered in Springfield alone in 2021, compared to just six in 2020.

“Already they’ve seen a number that will surpass 2022,” Gonzalez noted. “Therefore, the police are on track to have recovered even more weapons that have no serial number, no means of tracing.”

Gonzalez noted that 3D-printed guns, for example, contain no metal and therefore cannot be seen with metal detectors. He is chairman of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, which is work on an invoice to prohibit the assembly of firearms unless there is a serial number on the materials, and would prohibit the 3D printing of firearms without a permit.

Rina Schneur, co-lead of the Massachusetts chapter of Moms Demand Action, said ghost guns should be regulated like any other firearms. Massachusetts has the second lowest death rate in the country, next to Alaska, and she argued that it was largely because of strict Commonwealth regulations.

“The ability for people to acquire ghost weapons through 3D printed guns or kits really undermines and circumvents all of this legislation,” Schneur claimed. “Because people can acquire it, they don’t need background checks, they don’t need a license; it doesn’t need to be registered.”

At least 10 other states and Washington, DC, have already enacted bans on phantom weapons, and cities and local governments across the country have additional policies. According to the White House, approximately 20,000 suspected ghost guns were recovered by US law enforcement last year, ten times more than in 2016.

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