Montgomery Co.’s top prosecutor backs bill to ban ghost guns in Md. 

A new bill being introduced in the Maryland Senate would ban ghost guns — 12,000 of which were shipped into the state last year, according to the state’s attorney general.

Montgomery County, Maryland, is one of the jurisdictions seeing a huge increase in violence tied to ghost guns. They’re untraceable, affordable and easy to build. And they’re increasingly getting into the hands of children, said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy. That’s why he is testifying in support of SB 387.

The bill introduced by state Sen. Susan Lee — a Democrat who represents Montgomery County, including Bethesda — will ban ghost guns by revoking dealer licenses and prosecuting anyone who buys, receives, sells or builds one.

“Increasingly, we are seeing ghost guns being used in the commission of crimes of violence all across this state. We had our very first homicide in Montgomery County involving a ghost gun that occurred last August, and we have seized ghost guns on the property of five different public school locations in Montgomery County since the beginning of this school year,” McCarthy said.

Last week, a judge sentenced 18-year-old Kyhree Gardner to five years in prison — and suspended all but nine months — for bringing a ghost gun onto school property. Gardner pleaded guilty to charges of illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a dangerous weapon on school property when a ghost gun was discovered in his backpack as he played basketball on the courts at Burnt Mills Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“This young man should not have had a gun … He would have never been permitted to buy the gun he possessed under existing Maryland law if the normal safeguards in place applied to ghost guns,” McCarthy said.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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