Voice & Viewpoint Staff
On Thursday, September 23, 2021, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed the Eliminate Non-serialized Untraceable Firearm, or E.N.U.F., ordinance to prohibit the making, selling, and use of ghost guns. A ghost gun, or a do-it-yourself gun, is a homemade gun, usually made using parts that do not have serial numbers and cannot be traced. Ghost guns can be bought in kits that provide the gun parts, such as an unfinished frame, and the problem lies in the fact that these gun parts are technically not considered to be firearms when in this state. Therefore, anyone can have access to and acquire a ghost gun, bypassing background checks and other laws.
Councilmember Marni Van Wilpert originally wrote the ordinance banning ghost guns, which was passed by the City Council in a 8-1 vote on September 14. The bill specifically bans the buying, selling, or possession of a frame of an unfinished gun unless it has a trackable serial number. Unfinished firearm parts will be treated just like a completed firearm. The ordinance does not apply to inoperable guns or antique firearms made before 1968. Violating the ordinance will result in a misdemeanor.
According to a press release by the Mayor, San Diego saw a 169 percent increase during 2020 in the number of ghost guns that were impounded or taken by police. 2021 numbers have already surpassed the number of ghost guns impounded throughout all of 2019 and 2020, and the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) say they expect that number to double by the end of the year. SDPD claims that the majority of ghost guns are seized from people who cannot pass a state or federal background check to buy a gun either due to a criminal conviction or mental illness.
“San Diego has seen a dramatic increase in gun violence across our city using ghost guns. These guns are untraceable and can end up in the hands of people prohibited from having firearms making them a threat to public safety,” Mayor Gloria said in a press release. Now that the bill has been signed, the city of San Diego has 30 days, or by October 23, 2021, to implement the law.