‘Ghost gun’ bill progresses in Maryland House

A Maryland bill that would have many firearms and even parts of some sporting identification numbers is one step closer to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk.

Under the Untraceable Firearms Bill, any gun made after Oct. 22, 1968 will need to have a serial number etched in. This not only covers complete guns you buy, but also ones you inherit and even some individual parts of unassembled guns, including frames and receivers.

Also included would be kit guns that are often built by hobbyists. The weapons, sometimes called “ghost guns,” are unserialized and untraceable since the pieces can be bought online and assembled at home.

If the bill becomes law, it would ban the sale of kit guns, unfinished frames and receivers that do not have serial numbers starting on June 1, 2022. Possession of any unserialized items would become illegal in the state on March 1, 2023. It would be a misdemeanor with up to a $10,000 fine and up to two years in prison.

So, what if the law passes and you have unserialized guns or parts?

“They would go to an FFL (someone with a Federal Firearms License) and they would engrave the owner’s initials, the owner’s ZIP code and a number that is unique to the owner,” said Montgomery County Del. Lesley Lopez, who sponsored the House version of the bill.

According to Lopez, after the engraving is done, the owner has to also make sure that newly etched number is recorded.

“Then they would go home and enter that information into the Maryland State Police Voluntary Registry System,” Lopez said.

The legislation allows 30 days from the time someone gets a firearm, frame or receiver to have it etched and added to the Maryland State Police registry of unserialized firearms.

The bill has gone through the Maryland Senate and is heading toward a third reading in the House.

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Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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