MOTION-- In 2013, a mass shooting near Santa Monica City College took the lives of six people and
injured four more. In 2014 a bank robbery in Stockton and a shooting spree in rural Tehama County in
2017 killed six. In 2019, a 16-year-old killed two students and injured three others before killing
himself at a school in Santa Clarita. And the next year, as protests over police violence filled city
streets, Steven Carrillo used a machine gun to shoot two security guards at a federal building in
Oakland and a sheriffs deputy in an ambush in Santa Cruz. All of these shootings were committed
using 'ghost guns'- weapons that are assembled from parts or kits that include one unfinished piece,
typically the frame or receiver, which is the part of the gun regulated under federal law.
The kits, which cost between $400 and $525 come in cardboard boxes containing steel barrels,
plastic frames, and a number of small plastic and metal parts. Because the parts are not finished guns,
they mostly escape California's gun control laws and, once assembled, have a feature that
distinguishes them from manufactured weapons: no serial number. Not only will the assembled guns
have no serial numbers, but because they are sold as unfinished kits they are exempt from laws
requiring background checks and waiting periods. There are no federal restrictions on who can buy
ghost gun kits, how many kits or parts someone can purchase, and they are intentionally marketed as
unregulated and untraceable to appeal to persons prohibited from purchasing firearms legally.
Sending a wave of weapons without serial numbers or known purchasers onto our streets
creates obvious dangers, and officials say the number of these guns has soared. In 2020, Carlos A.
Canino, the Special Agent in charge of the A TF Los Angeles Field Division noted that 41 percent of
cases are turning up ghost guns, and last month, during an announcement of a new federal strike force
launched by the U.S. Department of Justice focused on disrupting the illegal flow of weapons into Los
Angeles and the sale of ghost guns locally, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said these guns now account
for a third of all weapons recovered by the Department.
The ease with which these guns can be ordered and assembled, and the difficulties in tracing
them have made them readily available throughout California. At the same time, shootings and
homicides have surged since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Los Angeles has been no
exception. As of July, 2021 homicides were up nearly 30 percent over last year and shootings were up
43 percent. The city ended 2020 with 350 homicides, the most in a decade. Ghost guns have been a
"significant influencer" in the surge of gun crime, according to Chief Moore, "because they give
criminals who aren't allowed access to firearms the ability to get weapons."
The City of San Diego recently approved an ordinance that prohibits buying, selling or
possessing the frame of an unfinished gun unless it has a serial number- essentially treating the
unfinished part like a completed firearm. A violation would be a misdemeanor. The City of Los
Angeles should follow suit.
I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Attorney be requested to draft an ordinance prohibiting
the possession, purchase, sale, receipt and transportation of non-serialized, unfinished frames and
unfinished receivers, and non-serialized firearms with the City of Los Angeles.
I FURTHER MOVE that the Los Angeles Police Department, with the assistance of the City
Attorney as needed, be instructed/requested to report back to Council in 14 days with current data on
the impact of ghost guns in the City of Los Angeles, including but not limited to the number of non-serialized firearms confiscated from individuals and recovered at crime scenes, as well as the number
of cases, shootings and homicides in which non-serialized ghost guns were involved.