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Colorado legislators introduce bill to ban 'ghost guns'

The bill would prohibit the possession, sale or transfer of unserialized firearms, frames and receivers.
Ghost Guns
Posted at 9:34 AM, Apr 13, 2023

DENVER — Colorado Senators Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) and Chris Hansen (D-Denver) introduced a bill Wednesday to ban "ghost guns" — a term used to describe firearms that lack serial numbers, making them easy to access and difficult to trace.

Senate Bill 23-279 prohibits the possession, sale, or transfer of an unserialized firearm, frame, or receiver. It also prohibits the fabrication of a firearm, frame, or receiver — including via a 3D printer — unless done by a federally licensed firearm manufacturer.

The bill is sponsored by State Representatives Andrew Boesenecker and Junie Joseph, both Democrats.

In February, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) published the first comprehensive federal firearm crime report in 20 years. According to the report, the ATF traced more than 19,000 privately made firearms in 2021, more than double the year before, the Associated Press reports.

Just last month, a man who was shot and killed by Englewood police officers was in possession of a ghost gun.

Those with an unserialized firearm, frame or receiver would have until January 1, 2024, to have it serialized. Unlawful conduct involving a ghost gun would be a class 1 misdemeanor on the first offense, while subsequent offenses would be upgraded to a class 5 felony.

SB 23-279 also targets "machine gun conversion devices," which turn a firearm into a machine gun. The bill adds such devices to the state's "dangerous weapon" list, which already includes firearm silencers, machine guns, short shotguns, short rifles, and ballistic knives. If a person is found to have a conversion device, they would face the same penalties used in current law for the possession of a "dangerous weapon."

SB 23-279 will be heard in the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.

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