ghost guns

Gaslamp Shooting Survivor Applauds New ‘Ghost Gun' Regulations

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Steve Ely was one of three people wounded by a man police say used a ghost gun to carry out a deadly rampage in the Gaslamp Quarter last April.

With his stomach scarred by the bullet and surgical wounds, Ely is now singing the praises of the Biden Administration's new ghost gun regulation.

“It’s a step in the right direction," said Steven Ely.

The rule change takes aim at manufacturers by requiring them to have serial numbers on parts and making licensed dealers perform background checks.

NBC 7's Brooke Martell heard from San Diegans and owners of local gun stores about the president's new regulations.

“Manufacturers of guns selling them to crazy people like the guy who shot me and four others, I don't like that," said Ely, a retired school teacher. "That is insane and leads to the wild, wild, west."

The co-owners of Firearms Unlimited California (FUC) in El Cajon say they don't sell or buy ghost guns, but question whether the new regulations are government overreach.

“What the president or Executive Branch is trying to do is, in my opinion, incredibly over encroaching and quite difficult. Are we going to tell every auto store to serialize every nut and bolt? FUC co-owner Gary Wyer wondered.

Investigators say Travis Sarreshteh, 33, used a ghost gun to shoot five people, killing hotel valet Justice Boldin, on April 22, 2021, reports NBC 7's Dana Griffin.

"This does not impede lawful gun owners whatsoever," said San Diego City Councilmember Mani von Wilpert who spearheaded San Diego’s ENUF ordinance that makes ghost guns illegal.

She explained how federal regulation is needed to protect San Diegans from ghost gun manufacturers across state lines.

“The biggest seller of unfinished frames and receivers and parts required to make ghost guns is across state lines in Nevada, Polymer 80. So every company in the United States can no longer sell these untraceable gun parts to people who want to commit violence with them," said von Wilpert.

It’s about time the Biden Administration tackled the issue, according to Carol Landale. She retired from teaching in the Poway Unified School District shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

She’s since devoted her time to the San Diegans For Gun Violence Prevention campaign. She says the rules aren’t infringing on anyone’s rights.

“If you're going to buy a firearm, a regular firearm. You go through a background check. In California you have a 10-day waiting period, the same source of regulations need to happen for a gun that you can make. A responsible person can still make a gun. All they have to do is make sure it's got a number on it and that they've gone through a background check,” said Landale.

A year later, Ely is still haunted by the shooting, especially as he continues to track ghost gun seizures that have already reached 143 since Jan. 1, according to the San Diego Police Department.

“Ghost guns are growing exponentially every couple months. Get a grip. Lets have some common sense laws. Ghost guns shouldn’t exist. If they do, have them traceable,” exclaimed Ely.

Last year there were about 20,000 ghost guns reported to the ATF and recovered during criminal investigations, according to the White House. That’s up ten-fold from 2016.

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