ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland is the latest state to action against a growing problem that has school and state officials worried: ghost guns. A law banning the purchase, transfer, or sale of any firearm or unfinished frame or receiver that is not imprinted with a serial number in accordance with federal law went into effect on Wednesday.
The District of Columbia and 10 other states including Virginia have similar legislation in place.
Ghost guns are do-it-yourself, homemade guns that can be made using components that can be purchased without a background check. Often the pieces are bought online or come in kits, can be made with 3D printers.
The pieces are often bought online or come in kits, but some of these pieces can be created by 3D printers.
“The Attorney General says 12,000 ghost guns, 12,000 were shipped into Maryland just last year," said Montgomery County's State Attorney John McCarthy in a March interview with WUSA9.
According to Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), a school shooting on January 21 left a student critically injured at Magruder High in Derwood by a 17-year-old Steven Alston Jr., who assembled a ghost gun and shot the student. Alston Jr. will be tried as an adult on attempted first-degree murder charges and will face 15-25 years in prison.
Data from MCPD shows that in 2019 they recovered 16 ghost guns, the number jumped to 56 in 2020, and in 2021 it reached 71. It is expected that 2022 will surpass the number of recovered weapons.
“We've seen an explosion of these firearms being recovered here in D.C.,” ATF Assistant Special Agent In Charge Chris Amon said.
“You don't have to be overly handy,” Agent Amon said. “With some basic tools, you know, you can assemble one of these firearms within 30 to 45 minutes”
As a part of the ghost gun ban in Maryland, no one in the state may posses one of these weapons by March 1, 2023.