Delaware Lawmakers Finalizing Legislation Targeting Untraceable - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Lawmakers Finalizing Legislation Targeting Untraceable "Ghost Guns"

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DOVER, Del.- Delaware lawmakers are finalizing a Senate bill aimed at cracking down on "untraceable" firearms and gun components that do not have serial numbers.

A draft copy of the legislation obtained by WBOC says the proposed law would expand the state's definition of firearms to include the receiver or frame of a gun. The final version of the bill could contain minor or significant differences once introduced.

Lower receivers are gun component that is considered to be a firearm by the federal government when manufactured beyond 80 percent completion, a process that needs machine tools.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives does not require firearms built by someone using an unfinished lower receiver to be registered with a serial number, so long as the firearm is for personal use and not transferred to another person.

Additionally, the draft copy of the bill said it would be illegal to possess manufacture, import, or sell an "untraceable firearm" in Delaware and defines such guns as ones that do not have serial numbers and are manufactured, assembled or produced using an unfinished frame or receiver, including ones that have been 3-D printed.

The draft version of the bill says it would be illegal to possess an un-serialized receiver unless you are a federally licensed gun manufacturer and the component is an unfinished part within a manufacturing process that will ultimately result in serialization.

Gov. John Carney (D) announced in his State of the State address in January that he would seek a law against so-called "ghost" and 3-D printed firearms.

Although he said the exact language of the bill is still being finalized, Carney said it could soon be introduced to the General Assembly, which is considering a number of other gun control measures that have been introduced this year.

"That's always the challenge with this type of legislation -- to define what you're talking about and the opponents of gun safety legislation really zero in on that," he said.

The drafted bill also restricts who can create firearms through "additive manufacturing" a process in which material is added in order to produce the product. Three-dimensional printing would also fall under that category.

The draft also states that the distribution of digital instructions or files that could be used to manufacture or produce a firearm, receiver, magazine or firearm component through processes like 3-D printing.

Some question how effective the legislation would actually be.

Jerry Berkert, owner of Puffin Gunshop in Dover, sells finished, serialized lower receivers and said the process of converting an unfinished receiver into a firearm is not easy and requires a lot of work.

"It's time consuming and all the other parts have to fit," he said. "The average person is not doing that."


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