SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) – Ghost guns, constructed firearms produced either by 3D printer or parts bought online, are unregistered, “untraceable” weapons. Now they’re banned in Illinois.
Calling Illinois the first in the Midwest to do so, a law signed by Gov. JB Prtizker bans ghost guns and the parts that make them up. Starting today, anyone in possession has 180 days to go through a serialized process for an unmarked firearm in order to comply with current law.
“Without this provision, ghost guns will continue to find their way into the hands of those who wish to find others,” Senate sponsor Jacqueline Collins (D – Chicago) said. “This is only a piece of our anti-violence efforts.”
Of course, those in possession of a ghost gun may not be willing to comply with the law. If someone is caught with an unregistered weapon, they face a Class A misdemeanor on the first offense and a Class 3 felony on the second.
The law wouldn’t apply to antique firearms, guns manufactured before 1968, inherited firearms, permanently inoperable guns and gun parts made as from a genuine manufacturer for federal purposes.
According to the Illinois State Police, ghost guns can be bought and constructed from kits bought online without the checks required for firearm purchase in the state of Illinois. They can also be produced by a 3D printer.
The need for the ban comes as advocates of the legislation argue ghost guns are making frequent appearances in gun violence incidents. Speaker of the Illinois House Emanuel “Chris” Welch calls them a “rapidly growing threat.”
ISP said they have been doubling the number of ghost guns recovered year over year since 2020. In that year, they found 62 ghost guns. The next year, there were 180. So far in 2022, ISP has confiscated 164, on track to double the previous year’s number once again.
Police are finding gun violence incidents involving unregistered guns more and more often.
“This can happen to any of us,” One of the founders of Purpose Over Pain Pam Bosley said. Her son Terrell Bosley was killed in 2006.
“There’s no age limit… I’m nervous about losing other individuals to gun violence,” she continued.
Pritzker and other law advocates said the next step is a push for federal legislation to ban ghost guns. President Joe Biden has enacted a policy to halt the manufacture of ghost guns, but not an outright ban.
Lawmakers want to stop the transfer of ghost guns and parts across state lines. Under the new law selling a ghost gun results in a Class 4 felony on the first offense and a class 2 on the second. Class 4 felonies carry a jail sentence of one to three years, and a Class 2 felony carries three to seven years.
“Other states that surround us have other lax laws for acquiring guns, that’s a real challenge for us,” Pritzker said. “That’s why we need federal legislation, but we’re doing everything we can to try and track people who are acquiring these guns in other states, coming across state lines and then not registering them.”
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