Maryland lawmakers to consider measures to ban ghost guns

Untraceable guns, known as ghost guns, which are privately assembled from kits would be banned in Maryland under a bill lawmakers will consider this legislative session.

The bill will be introduced on behalf of Brian E. Frosh, the state’s attorney general.

As laws currently stand, neither Maryland nor the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives define a “firearm frame or receiver” as including the individual parts that can be assembled into ghost guns, which lack serial numbers.

“We can’t wait any longer to close this very deadly loophole,” Frosh said at a news conference Thursday, announcing a bill that will go before lawmakers.

“Our bill will harmonize Maryland law with pending ATF regulations primarily by changing the definition of firearm to include unfinished frames or receivers,” Frosh said.

The Maryland bill would ban, as of June, 1, 2022, the sale, receipt and transfer of unfinished frames or receivers that are not serialized by the manufacturers. It would be illegal to own guns lacking serial numbers in Maryland by 2023.

Before that time, Frosh said people owning guns lacking serial numbers could get serial numbers imprinted by a federally licensed firearms dealer, or sell the weapon to a licensed dealer.

Previous attempts to regulate ghost guns in Maryland have failed.

“This year the bill is in a different posture and it’s probably in the best posture it’s ever been. It’s different because, No. 1, it’s an outright ban,” Del. Lesley Lopez of Montgomery County said.

Lopez also is encouraged by proposed changes to the definition of firearm that she expects the ATF to approve within the next six months.

The bill as proposed would make violations a misdemeanor subject to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

You can watch a video of the bill’s announcement below.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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