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California politics archives from April

Welcome to our archived feed of Essential Politics from April. We covered the California Republican Party convention here.

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Should 'ghost guns' be treated like real guns?

A plastic pistol made using a 3-D printer would have to be registered in California under this measure. (Jay Janner / Associated Press)
A plastic pistol made using a 3-D printer would have to be registered in California under this measure. (Jay Janner / Associated Press)

A state Senate panel on Tuesday approved a bill requiring those who build guns at home to register them with the state of California, get a serial number and undergo a criminal background check.

“These firearms are called ghost guns because they are built at home … with no serial numbers or background checks involved,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) told the Senate Public Safety Committee before it approved the bill on a 5-3 party-line vote. “These are weapons that have the ability to kill or maim a human being.”

De León authored the measure, which is similar to one of his bills that was vetoed by the governor last year.

He said the problem has become worse since the veto, including use of the guns by drug cartels in Mexico. Hundreds of ghost guns have been seized in California, and they have been used in major crimes, including a mass shooting in 2013. The measure is backed by the California Police Chiefs Assn.

“Gun-smithing has become easier than putting together Ikea furniture because of the 3-D printer,” said Chief Jennifer G. Tejada of the Emeryville Police Department. “This bill will decrease the number of untraceable firearms in California.”

The measure is opposed by groups including the National Rifle Assn. and Gun Owners of California. 

“We’re going to take hobbyists who enjoy making guns and we’re going to make them criminals,” said Ed Worley, a lobbyist for the NRA.

Sam Paredes, executive director of the gun owners group, said the measure will hurt law-abiding citizens.

“This bill will do nothing to prevent a criminal from building their own gun or stealing a gun,” he said.


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