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Thursday, September 2, 2021

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday is scheduled to consider requesting an ordinance from the city attorney to prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, receipt and transportation of "ghost guns" in Los Angeles.

The vote was initially scheduled for Aug. 25 but was delayed a week. The motion was introduced by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian on Aug. 10.

Ghost guns—also known as kit guns and 80% receivers—are virtually untraceable weapons without serial numbers that can be assembled by unlicensed buyers from legally purchased kits.

The unfinished parts are inexpensive and not required under federal law to have serial numbers or a background check to purchase. According to the gun control advocacy organization Everytown For Gun Safety, an AR-15 ghost gun kit and lower receiver can be purchased for $345.

Ghost guns accounted for more than 40% of guns confiscated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and one-third of crime guns recovered by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2020, according to Koretz.

The motion would also direct the LAPD to present data to the council within 14 days on the impact of ghost guns in Los Angeles, including the number of non-serialized firearms confiscated from people and recovered at crime scenes and the number of shootings and homicides that involved non-serialized firearms.

Ghost guns were used during a 2013 shooting at Santa Monica College in which six people, including the shooter, died; a series of shootings in Tehama County in 2017, in which five people died; and the 2019 shooting at Saugus High School in 2019, in which three students, including the shooter, were killed and three others were injured.

The ATF recovered 10,000 ghost guns in the United States in 2019, 2,700 of which were in California.

"Ghost guns are deliberately designed to avoid tracing, and when sold without background checks, end up in the possession of felons," Krekorian said on Aug. 10.

"In Los Angeles, ghost guns were a factor in the sharp rise in homicides in 2020. This motion enables the city to move aggressively to significantly reduce the number of non-serialized firearms in our communities," he continued.

Krekorian introduced a motion approved in February to authorize City Attorney Mike Feuer to negotiate contracts with Everytown Law and Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart and Sullivan to receive their pro bono services to develop and implement legal strategies to combat ghost guns.

If a motion is requested, the draft ordinance would need to be unanimously approved by the City Council on its first reading. If not unanimously approved, it will be voted on again the following week, when it would need a majority to pass.