The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted in favor of banning unregistered firearms and do-it-yourself gun assembly kits in an effort to get so-called "ghost guns" off the streets.
In a 3-2 vote, the county leaders' decision green lights a measure introduced by Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher and Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer to prohibit guns and parts without serial numbers. It also includes the creation of community-based gun reduction programs and safe firearms storage.
Before the measure goes into effect, an ordinance will be created and returned to the Supervisors in 90 days that defines what a ghost gun is, prohibits the possession or distribution of unserialized parts used in the creation of them, bans 3D printing of unserialized firearms or parts and updates safe firearm storage standards.
“Stricter gun safety rules on ghost gun purchases and manufacturing, along with common sense guidelines on safe gun storage, will help to make San Diego a safer community for our residents and visitors," Fletcher said in a statement on Tuesday. "In addition, the investment we make in gun violence prevention will be vital to keeping children and families safe by preventing unnecessary deaths to firearms."
Lawson-Remer said in a previous statement that banning untraceable firearms will prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.
"The dangerous loophole that allows ghost guns to be manufactured in our community is starting to close today thanks to this common-sense safety reform,” Lawson-Remer said in an updated statement Tuesday. “The production of untraceable and unregistered firearms represents a new and urgent threat to our public safety, and with this vote, we are creating new tools to help limit their creation."
Supervisors Jim Desmond and Joel Anderson opposed the vote. On Tuesday, Supervisor Desmond said in a statement that the upcoming ordinance is "putting another law on top of an already existing law."
"Ghost guns are already illegal, as you’re legally required to register guns with the government," Desmond said in his statement. "I’m all in favor of getting the illicit guns off the street, but I don’t believe today’s action will do that."
Desmond went on to say that the county should target the root cause of gun violence by "helping people of all communities who are affected by gun violence with mentorships, internships, jobs and opportunities so they don’t resort to gun violence."
Just a month ago, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed an ordinance banning ghost guns in the city in an effort to curb firearm-related violence.
"San Diego has seen a dramatic increase in gun violence across our city using ghost guns,'' Gloria said last month. "These guns are untraceable and can end up in the hands of people prohibited from having firearms, making them a threat to public safety."
The San Diego City Council passed the ordinance, Eliminate Non-Serialized, Untraceable Firearms (ENUF), 8-1. It prohibits the sale, purchase, possession, receipt and transportation of non-serialized guns and parts. It also makes it illegal for unregistered gun kits to be sold in San Diego online and in stores.
ENUF will go into effect in the city on Oct. 23
Opponents of the ban argued that the ordinance will not address the root of gun violence and added that it would make residents who already own a personally manufactured gun a criminal.
“I think it is a law that’s going to criminalize people overnight who probably are unaware that the law even passed," said Dimitri Karras, a spokesperson for Firearms Unknown, a gun shop in Oceanside.