Last Thursday the California state Senate approved SB 808, a bill sponsored by Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) that seeks to regulate homemade and 3D-printed firearms. De Leon and the bill’s supporters refer to these firearms as “ghost guns,” or firearms that lack a serial number and can be obtained without a background check.
“Advances in technology, particularly 3D printers, have created a threat of plastic and self-assembled firearms,” said de Leόn in a release. “We’re even beginning to see an emerging industry and market for untraceable and undetectable ghost guns.”
SB 808 will require homemade or self-assembled firearms to be registered with the Department of Justice through a serial number and gun owner background check. 3D-printed firearms will require a permanent metal component that can be screened by metal detectors.
“It does not ban homemade guns. It simply holds these assembled guns at home to the same standard,” de Leon told the Associated Press.
Supporters of the bill say that this requirement will keep homemade firearms out of the hands of criminals and those barred from owning them. Gun rights groups, however, say that the bill will only provide a serious headache for police officers.
“Law enforcement officers who will have no way to determine if someone’s firearm is a legally-possessed pre-SB 808 non-serialized firearm or an illegal post-SB 808 firearm,” stated the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees (CAL-FFL).
The inclusion of 3D-printed firearms in the bill’s language is also drawing some ire from 3D-printing enthusiasts. Plastic-printed guns are relative newcomers to California’s gun control debate, but are quickly drawing attention. Last year, Congress renewed the Undetectable Firearms Act for another 10 years, but did not include the proposed amendments to regulate 3D-printed firearms.
“Gun parts can be obtained online or now with 3D printers made at home, leaving no way for law enforcement to ensure that prohibited individuals are not making ghost guns on their own,” said Senator De Leόn. “No one knows they exist and there is no way to know if criminals are circumventing firearms laws by making these guns.”
Earlier this year de Leon was criticized for his misuse of firearm terminology when speaking at a press conference announcing the legislation.
“The Senator’s use of made-up terms like ’30 magazine clip’ and ‘ghost guns,’ among others, confuses the public as to the actual policy issue: the state’s long history of failure to go after armed criminals and prosecute real crimes,” commented the CAL-FFL.
You can see de Leon talking at the press conference below: