Press Release

Giffords Praises Delaware Lawmakers for Introducing Legislation to Regulate Ghost Guns 

Ghost guns are untraceable and require no background checks, allowing felons and terrorists to easily get their hands on deadly weapons

January 16, 2020 — Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, applauded Governor John Carney, Rep. Valerie Longhurst, Rep. Debra Heffernan, Rep. Raymond Seigfried Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf, Rep. John L. Mitchell, Sen. Nicole Poore, and Sen. David McBride for introducing HB 277 to regulate ghost guns, firearms manufactured in the home which can be obtained without a background check, lack serial numbers, and are therefore untraceable by law enforcement if used in a crime.

“Ghost guns present a unique danger, allowing criminals to bypass our nation’s gun laws and get their hands on a deadly weapon,” said Molly Voigt, state legislative manager at Giffords. “Companies that produce these weapons are clearly more concerned with profits than public safety. Combating gun violence means ensuring those hoping to do harm are never able to easily get their hands on a gun, and we applaud leadership in Delaware for recognizing that action must be taken to protect Delawareans from the growing threat of ghost guns.”

Ghost guns can be easily produced from kits, widely available online with no background check. These kits include a key firearm component called a receiver or frame, which contains the firing mechanism of the gun. (“Receivers” are the foundation of rifles like AR-15 assault weapons, while “frames” are the foundation of pistols like the handgun used in the Santa Clarita shooting.) Sellers of the kits used to build ghost guns deliberately leave the receivers or frames they sell unfinished in order to avoid falling under the jurisdiction of federal and state gun laws which apply to fully finished frames and receivers.

The critical danger posed by ghost guns results from the fact that unfinished—or “80%”—receivers or frames can be completed with minimal skill in as little as 15 minutes and then combined with other readily available components to produce a fully functional yet untraceable firearm.

Ghost guns have already been used in mass shootings by shooters who would have been unable to purchase a typical serialized gun, either because the gun itself was illegal in that state or because the shooters were prohibited from purchasing guns and unable to pass a background check. Criminal enterprises are increasingly exploiting these technologies.