Watch CBS News

Scott And Harrison Join Lawmakers, Advocates In Calling On Hogan To Sign 'Ghost Gun' Ban

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison joined state lawmakers and gun control advocates in calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to sign into law a ban on "ghost guns," unserialized firearms that can be purchased as kits and assembled at home.

A bill prohibiting people from purchasing, receiving, selling, offering to sell or transferring a "ghost gun" or "ghost gun" part on or after March 1, 2023 was passed in the House of Delegates on Tuesday by a vote of 92 to 41. The Senate passed it on March 16, 35-11.

"We can't continue to allow 'ghost guns' to remain unchecked," said Melissa Ladd, Maryland chapter leader of the grassroots organization Moms Demand Action.

Harrison said Baltimore police have seized 600 "ghost guns" since 2019, including 103 to date in 2022. Of those recovered this year, 41 have been linked to violent crimes ranging from homicide to armed robbery. The commissioner also said some of the weapons have been found in the hands of people as young as 14-years-old.

Officials say the problem played out inside a Montgomery County School in January when a student brought a ghost gun to Magruder High then shot and injured another student.

In describing some of the violent crimes ghost guns have been connected to in Baltimore City, Commissioner Harrison said "Some of them are nonfatal shootings, some of them are homicides, some of them are robberies and we know through ballistics work that they are connected to other crimes that have been committed with the very same gun."

"I see this bill as a part of a multi-faceted approach to get illegal guns off of our streets," said Scott. "The number of ghost guns we are seeing in our streets, and in the hands of those who are committing violence, is growing continuously."

Mayor Scott also said, "It shouldn't be easier to purchase a ghost gun than it is for me to buy NyQuil in CVS, frankly, this is common sense legislation across party lines."

Sen. Susan Lee (D-Montgomery County, the bill's sponsor in the upper chamber, said she hasn't heard from Hogan's office if he will sign it. Del. Lesley Lopez, the sponsor of the House version, said she's had informal conversations with the governor's office and is not sure how he will act.

Both expressed confidence they could override a veto if Hogan chooses to reject the legislation.

"The numbers are on our side, both in terms of the votes in the chambers and in terms of how the issue polls nationally," said Lopez. "The ball is in the governor's court, but I think there's a lot of reason to be hopeful."

In a statement to WJZ, Hogan's office said he will consider the legislation once it reaches his desk.

The bill would also require any gun made after Oct. 22, 1968, to have a serial number on it.

John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, would close loopholes that allow people who can't legally obtain a firearm from getting a "ghost gun."

"Put simply, they look like a gun, they work like a gun and they kill like a gun," he said. "But for too long, they haven't been regulated like a gun, that has to change."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.