MARYLAND, USA — State House leaders passed a ban on ghost guns Tuesday, two months after a prosecutor said a student used one to shoot and injure another student inside Magruder High School in Montgomery County.
The measure was approved by a vote of 92-41 after the Senate passed the bill earlier this month. It now heads to the desk of Governor Larry Hogan.
According to the bill, any gun made after October 22, 1968, must have a serial number on it.
“These untraceable firearms have become the weapon of choice for criminals,” wrote Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh in a statement. “They are easily purchased over the internet without a background check, making them easily accessible to children, violent felons, domestic abusers and others who are ineligible to own a firearm.”
The use of ghost guns, also known as privately made firearms, has sky-rocketed in recent years.
According to the Montgomery County Police Department, the number of ghost guns recovered by officers this year is already near the amount recorded in all of 2021.
GHOST GUNS RECOVERED IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY:
2019 = 16
2020 = 56
2021 = 70
Following the passage of Senate Bill 387 on Tuesday, Moms Demand Action volunteer Danica Starks told WUSA9 that the ban would make a big difference in the state.
"(Ghost guns) make accessibility much easier for people who should not have guns," she said. "It’s harder to hold the shooters accountable because you can’t trace it. It’s like it’s invisible.”
Starks grew up in Prince George's County and said she has seen the personal impact of gun violence; from a cousin's son who was shot in a drive-by and another cousin who was shot by her husband in a domestic incident, to a relative who was held-up at gunpoint.
After becoming the head of the Prince George's County branch of Moms Demand Action, Starks said it was a big mission to ban ghost guns.
"The impact (of the ban) is huge because leaders recognize that there’s a problem and the problem has gotten worse," she said.
Delegate Lesley Lopez (D-Montgomery County) was one of the state leaders who helped organize the measure.
Following the shooting at Magruder High School in January, she said on Tuesday that the ban helped send a message about illegal guns in the state.
"We can’t undo what happened at Magruder High School but at least this can show people that those people who are elected to office really do care," she said. "We’ve done everything we can to make sure we’re cutting off this pipeline of privately made firearms while still protecting the Second Amendment rights.”
Multiple state legislators who spoke to WUSA9 on Tuesday said they were unsure if Governor Larry Hogan will sign off on the ghost gun ban. However, the bill received support from both Republicans and Democrats.
A request for comment from the governor's office went unreturned on Tuesday.