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Maryland Democrats Moving Toward a ‘Ghost Gun’ Ban to Stop Violent Crime

Sen. Justin Ready, a Carroll County Republican, said he’s skeptical that banning ghost guns would make a dent in violent crime. He suggested that those with violent intentions who are determined to get their hands on untraceable guns still will find a way to do so.

“I would have a lot more respect for these gun control groups if they came in strong supporting the bills cracking down on the people that commit violent acts,” said Ready, who supports tougher sentences for certain gun crimes and has been trying to make theft of a firearm a felony.

Hobbyist gun owners could get caught up in the ban and risk losing their ability to buy firearms forever, said Mark Pennak, president of the advocacy group Maryland Shall Issue.

“What we can’t have is the General Assembly passing laws that threaten to send away and permanently disqualify law-abiding people, when the state’s attorneys — particularly in Baltimore — don’t enforce these laws,” Pennak said in an interview.

If lawmakers insist on banning ghost guns, then they at least could improve the grandfathering provision, Pennak said. He suggests following California’s procedure, which requires ghost gun owners to send to the state information about the gun and the owner’s eligibility to own one. The state then sends the gun owner a serial number that has to be engraved or otherwise permanently marked on the weapon.

Better yet, Pennak said, the state should wait for the adoption of federal regulations proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that would define the most common ghost gun kits as firearms. That’s likely to significantly curtail the sale of gun kits online.

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