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Brady Urges Action to Prevent the Sale of Ghost Guns at Gun Shows in California

Legislation introduced by California Assemblymember Chris Ward would immediately and tangibly make California safer

Washington, D.C., January 25, 2021- Brady urges the California Assembly to pass AB 311, new legislation introduced by Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) to prohibit the sale of ghost gun kits at gun shows across the state. Ghost gun kits severely undermine California's strong and comprehensive gun laws and have been specifically created to circumvent gun laws, including background checks and records, which work to keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. Brady continues to urge action in response to the proliferation of ghost guns, including filing a first-of-its kind lawsuit against the manufacturers of ghost guns used in the Rancho Tehama, California, mass shooting in November 2017.

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

California has led the nation in implementing common-sense and comprehensive gun violence prevention laws. The state’s actions have demonstrably kept its citizens safe. These laws work. That is why the proliferation of ghost guns and ghost gun kits is a threat to public safety. These weapons undermine all existing firearm laws and are purposefully designed to skirt these common-sense regulations and facilitate the sale of functioning firearms to those who the state and the federal government have deemed are unfit to possess a weapon. It is clear that sales of kits to build ghost guns are booming at California gun shows and that they are marketed in this setting as a means to circumvent existing laws.

Brady thanks Assemblymember Ward for taking this needed step to address the sale of these weapons at gun shows and to keep Californians safe. The California State Legislature must, in no uncertain terms, take action to stop this threat and we urge their full support.”

Team Enough Executive Council Member and California Resident Stephan Abrams shared:

“As a life-long San Diego resident and gun violence prevention advocate, I am grateful that Assemblymember Ward is taking action to stymie the flow of dangerous ghost guns into our communities. Assemblymember Ward’s bill would immediately stop the sale of these kit guns at gun shows to individuals who would otherwise not be permitted to purchase a firearm. These kits are marketed for this purpose, a clear violation of the spirit of our state and our country’s gun violence prevention laws and a threat to public safety. This bill will make our state safer and I look forward to it becoming law.”

Brady California Legislative Chair Amanda Wilcox shared:

“Ghost Guns undermine every gun law on the books. They threaten law enforcement, public safety, and the ability of the state to stop violence. Brady is grateful to Assemblymember Ward for introducing this bill and urges California legislators to show their strong support.”

About Ghost Guns:

Ghost guns are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home. They are often sold through "ghost gun kits," which include all of the parts and often the equipment necessary to build these weapons at home. These kits are widely available and can be purchased by anyone, including prohibited purchasers, domestic abusers, and gun traffickers — without a background check. As these kits and guns are sold at gun shows and online every day throughout the country, they undermine all of the life-saving policies that state legislatures have fought so hard to put in place.

This is a growing concern, as:

  • The ATF recently reported that 30% of crime guns it recovered in California were ghost guns.
  • The CA Bureau of Firearms seized 512% more ghost guns from persons identified through the Armed Prohibited Persons System database in 2019 than in 2018.
  • In January 2020, the ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division reported that over 40% of its cases involved ghost guns.
  • In San Francisco, the number of ghost guns seized by local law enforcement jumped 600% between 2017 and 2019.
  • In San Jose, the number of unserialized guns recovered by local law enforcement spiked by 51% from 2017 to 2019 in that same period.
  • Ghost guns have been used in a wide variety of crimes in California, including homicides, robberies, school shootings, mass shootings, killings of law enforcement, and domestic violence.

About Brady’s Lawsuit McFadyen v. Ghost Gunner Inc.

Represented by Brady and Brady Legal Alliance partners Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe, the survivors and the families of the people killed in the 2017 mass shooting in Rancho Tehama, California, recently brought forward McFayden v. GhostGunner Inc., the nation’s first two civil lawsuits by victims of gun violence against the ghost gun industry.

Brady alleges in the complaint that the defendants have chosen to engage in a business that utilizes online loopholes that enable prohibited purchasers to acquire weapons without a Brady Background Check or any interaction with a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). In doing so, Brady alleges that the defendants have chosen to intentionally undermine federal and state gun laws by designing, marketing, and selling ghost gun kits and firearms parts, which resulted in the Rancho Tehama gunman, who was barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm, being able to obtain two AR-15-style ghost guns. During the gunman’s shooting spree in November 2017, he killed five people and injured 18 others at eight separate crime scenes, including an elementary school.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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