Denver, CO

Denver may ban homemade guns

David Heitz

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These days they’re known as “ghost guns” because they don’t contain serial numbers and there’s no way to trace them. But for many years they were referred to by police simply as “homemade guns.”

“As various cities across the country have seen more and more of these non-serialized firearms being used in crimes, Mayor (Michael) Hancock and City Attorney Kristin Bronson are proposing a ban on the possession, carry, use, manufacture, and sale of non-serialized guns in Denver,” according to a city staff report. The Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee will consider the proposals at their meeting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

White House also eyeing legislation

In considering the legislation, the City and County of Denver is taking a nod from the White House. “Earlier this year, the Biden Administration’s announced it would be taking efforts to update federal rules to help end the proliferation of non-serialized firearms in the country,” according to the staff report.

“These ‘ghost guns’ as they are referred to colloquially, are firearms and firearm frames and receivers that lack a serial number, and thus cannot be traced to their original owner, seller, or manufacturer.”

The federal law changes some language to make sure more guns are outlawed. “The proposed rule also sets out requirements for federally licensed firearms dealers to add a serial number to any ‘ghost gun’ they acquire before it can be sold,” according to the staff report.

Homemade guns perfect for crimes

Homemade guns are tailor-made for criminals. “The frame or receiver brings together the trigger and other parts of the gun that are key to firing a bullet,” the city staff report explains. “Current federal law requires complete frames and receivers to have a serial number.

“Receivers that are not fully finished (80%ers) are not currently considered a firearm, not required to have a serial number, and do not require a background check to purchase.”

Cities that already have Ghost Gun legislation include Bridgeport, Conn.; Columbia, S.C.; Montgomery County, Md.; New York; Philadelphia; San Diego; San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Changes to Denver’s gun law

The committee also will consider changing part of the city law governing firearms. “The ordinance uses the more precise term ‘non-serialized firearm,’ rather than the colloquial term ‘ghost gun,’ a city staff report explains. “The ordinance would make it unlawful to possess, wear, carry, or transport (open or concealed), display, flourish, discharge, manufacture or sell any non -serialized firearm (including any non-serialized firearm frame or receiver).”

The penalty for violating the law could include up to 300 days in a jail and a $999 fine, according to the staff report.

If the committee approves the proposed law, it will go on to the full City Council for a vote.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

Denver, CO
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