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Baltimore Leaders Join Hearing On Bill To Ban Ghost Guns In Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Lawmakers in Annapolis started hearings on a bill that aims to ban the use of ghost guns in the state.

Ghost guns are untraceable guns with no serial numbers. People could buy parts online with no background check then assemble them at home.

According to a synopsis written on the state's bill tracking page,  if the legislation becomes law, it would prohibit someone "… from purchasing, receiving, selling, offering to sell, or transferring an unfinished frame or receiver, or possessing a firearm on or after January 1, 2023..."

A devasted mother who lost her son to gun violence pleaded with lawmakers in Annapolis to make a change. She said someone shot her son with a ghost gun.

"I don't want this to continue, I don't want no mother to cry about her babies," the woman told lawmakers after moments of crying.

Mayor Brandon Scott was among the speakers who want lawmakers to ban these types of guns.

"No one should be able to bypass background checks and buy guns off the internet," says Mayor Scott.

In Baltimore alone, the police department said the number of ghost guns went up from just 9 when they first started keeping track in 2018, to 352 in 2021.

In late January, a student was shot at a Montgomery County high school. Police said the suspect - a fellow student - used a ghost gun.

Some lawmakers are concerned that a ban on the guns could negatively affect law-abiding gun owners.

"So you are going to make thousands of law-abiding citizens potentially fall outside the law and become criminals under this act just because they exercise their second amendment rights," Delegate Daniel Cox asked during a hearing.

In addition to Annapolis, there's also a movement to ban ghost guns on the federal level.

"We have an epidemic of ghost guns that are flooding the state and around the country," said Senator Chris Van Hollen. "We need to get on top of this and prevent people from essentially sending parts over the internet, letting them assemble untraceable guns at home."

On Tuesday during a press conference, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said his department took 139 guns off the streets so far in 2022 and 51 of them were ghost guns.

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