San Diego City Council leaders on Monday approved a proposal to ban ghost gun kits and parts from the city.
The Eliminate Non-Serialized Untraceable Firearm Ordinance (ENUF Ordinance), authored by Councilwoman Marni Von Wilpert, will effectively “prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, receipt, and transportation of non-serialized, unfinished frames and unfinished receivers, and non-serialized firearms within the City of San Diego.” The ENUF Ordinance will also make it essentially illegal for unregistered or unserialized gun kits to be sold in San Diego either online or in stores.
Von Wilpert wrote the ENUF ordinance proposal earlier this year following an April 22 Gaslamp Quarter shooting that left 1 dead and 3 injuries. A subsequent investigation found that the shooter, who could not own a gun due to prior incarceration, had used a ghost gun made from a ghost gun kit. San Diego Police Department (SDPD) reports showing a 129% growth in gang-related shootings in the first half of 2021 compared to a year prior also helped influence the ordinance.
Von Wilpert and other supporters cheered the final decision on Monday’s 8-1 passage.
“The spread of untraceable ‘ghost guns’ is fueling gun violence in our city and today’s vote will help keep firearms out of the hands of people who pose danger to our communities—including violent criminals, domestic abusers, individuals suffering from mental illness, and terrorists,” exclaimed the Councilwoman on Monday.
Others who voted in favor directly pointed to the April shooting as the main reason behind voting for the bill.
“April’s deadly shooting in the Gaslamp Quarter was a wakeup call about the growing dangers of ghost guns,” said City Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn, whose district includes the Gaslamp Quarter. “We can’t allow criminals to have such easy access to these lethal weapons. Amid rising crime nationwide, I’m proud that San Diego is protecting public safety by cracking down on ghost guns.”
However, many disagreed with the Council’s decision on Monday, including the lone dissenting voter, Councilman Chris Cate. He argues that that the ordinance will do nothing to increase safety, as it only goes after specific guns targeting criminals who have the means to get guns in other ways and doesn’t hold the criminals themselves accountable.
“This law does nothing to prevent mass shootings,” explained Cate. “This law does nothing to hold criminals accountable. This law does nothing to make us safer.”
While the SDPD projects that the number of ghost guns confiscated this year will double the 211 taken from criminals last year, many gun owner groups argue that it is already illegal to have unserialized parts.
“No responsible gun owner is doing the type of things that these criminals are doing,” explained Chet Crawford, who heads a gun club in San Diego County. “It’s only going after a symptom, not the real problem. It’s just making something illegal that’s already illegal. The state is deciding on [a bill] this year to make more of these parts illegal, and legal cases have restricted them too. It’s just the easiest thing to go after. They don’t seem to want to go after the criminals, do they?”