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Governor Kathy Hochul Takes Bold Action on Ghost Guns to Make New Yorkers Safer

Governor signs legislation that criminalizes the sale of untraceable and easily assembled DIY firearms 

Washington, DC Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, lauded New York Governor Kathy Hochul for signing a critical package of bills that ban ghost guns. The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act and the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act provide a comprehensive solution to the problem of ghost guns in New York by prohibiting these untraceable weapons and the parts used to make them. Senator Holyman, Assemblymember Rosenthal, Assemblymember Lavine, and Senator Kaplan were leaders in bringing the legislation to the governor’s desk. 

“Ghost guns present a clear and present danger to national security and public safety,” said David Chipman, Giffords Senior Policy Advisor.“These untraceable, DIY firearms are increasingly being used to commit violent crimes and law enforcement is left with little to no information for an investigation. Governor Hochul and leaders in New York showed they weren’t afraid of the gun lobby and demonstrated the leadership necessary to reduce gun violence in New York. Other states should follow their lead.”  

“Ghost guns have posed a rising threat to New York for years, supplying the illegal gun market and undermining the most basic gun safety laws,” said David Pucino, Giffords Law Center Senior Staff Attorney. “By signing these bills, Governor Hochul has made a powerful commitment to stop the proliferation of these deadly weapons and taken an important step to stem the tide of violence. We are grateful to the governor, to the legislature, and to the families of Jose Webster and Scott Beigel. Their advocacy in the wake of unspeakable tragedy is a testament to their courage and an inspiration to many.”

Ghost guns are untraceable by law enforcement and can be obtained without a background check. These guns pose a grave threat to public safety, and people who are legally prohibited from owning firearms are able to create them without consequences in most states. The threat is rising rapidly. In 2018, the New York Police Department recovered 17 ghost guns. By 2020 that number was over 140, and in 2021 the NYPD has already recovered 135. Giffords continues to work at both the state and federal level to curb the threat of ghost guns and the violence they wreak on communities across the country.