HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut leaders reintroduced a federal bill to ban ghost guns on Tuesday.
Mayor Luke Bronin called them the biggest threat — and something police are seeing more on the streets.
According to officials, ghost gun seizures in Hartford jumped from seven in 2020 to 58 in 2022. In the first half of 2023, the police department seized 24 ghost guns.
“They look like a gun, they shoot like a gun, they kill like a gun,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said.
The weapons come from unlicensed sellers and manufacturers, do not have a serial number, and do not require a background check all things this legislation hopes to stop.
“The frame and the receiver can be sent, mailed separately, without serial numbers, and then put together in the backyard or on a kitchen table,” Blumenthal said. “When cops find them on the street after a murder, they are untraceable therefore the investigation can’t go back to federal records.”
Blumenthal reintroduced a federal bill that would ban ghost guns. He said the number of ghost guns seized federally has grown by 1,000% in recent years.
“They are guns that are specifically designed to evade common sense gun laws and evade detection,” Bronin said. “There is no reason for law-abiding citizens to have a ghost gun.”
Bronin said battling gun violence takes a multi-pronged approach to prevention and accountability — something he said this legislation plays a dual role in.
The bill would prevent unregulated guns from being sold. As a result, it would reduce the number of untraceable weapons, holding criminals accountable.
“This is not an abstract issue,” Bronin said. “This is not a theoretical threat. These guns are being used in violent crimes in this community, in communities across the state and communities across this country.”
Advocacy groups like the Greater Hartford Youth Leadership Academy said prevention is key to combat gun violence. The group said the legislation should help.
“HCTC is all about prevention, proactively dealing with these issues before violence escalates,” said Eddie Brown, the director of the Greater Hartford Youth Leadership Academy. “Halting the flow of illegal weapons, ghost guns as black market purchases coming through the iron pipeline is one measure we can all support,”
But the Connecticut Citizen’s Defense League doesn’t believe the bill would help.
President Holly Sullivan sent News 8 a statement reading in part:
“Connecticut has had “ghost gun” laws for years, yet crimes continue to be committed in our state by those in unlawful possession of firearms of all types. Until politicians get serious about going after actual criminals and appointing judges who uphold penalties, crimes committed with guns both serialized and not will continue to occur.”
Blumenthal says he expects the bill will have bipartisan support.
Meanwhile this afternoon the Supreme Court voted to temporarily allow the Biden Administration’s ghost gun regulations to take effect forcing ghost gun kits to follow the same rules as regular firearms.