Man Sentenced in San Diego's 1st Ghost-Gun Possession Conviction

"Ghost guns" seized in federal law enforcement actions are displayed at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) field office in Glendale, California.
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A man sentenced last week for possessing an unserialized "ghost gun" is the first person charged and convicted under the city of San Diego's ordinance banning the weapons, the San Diego City Attorney's Office announced Friday.

The city's Eliminate Non-Serialized Untraceable Firearms ordinance went into effect last October, about two months before 23-year-old Rene Orozco was arrested for leading police on a car chase in City Heights, then tossing the gun as he ran from officers.

For under $100, you can buy all the parts for a "ghost gun," a difficult-to-trace firearm made from parts without serial numbers. The Biden Administration plans to crack down on ghost guns, which make up a small but increasing portion of the guns seized at crime scenes. The fact that ghost guns were made at all is a sign of weak or easily circumvented gun laws, says Vanderbilt University professor and author Jonathan Metzl. "We have gun laws, and then we have loopholes that are so big you can drive any size truck you want through them," he told LX News.

The ordinance prohibits the sale and possession of so-called ghost guns, firearms that lack serial numbers and are often assembled from purchased or homemade components.

The ordinance, authored by Councilmember Marni von Wilpert, was introduced shortly after a man opened fire on several people in the Gaslamp Quarter in April of last year, killing one person and injuring several others. Police allege the gunman used a ghost gun in the shooting.

Hours after the E.N.U.F. ordinance was signed by Mayor Todd Gloria, local gun owners sued to block its enforcement, calling it a violation of the Second Amendment rights of San Diegans. Their request was denied by a San Diego federal judge just before the ordinance went into effect.

The Eliminate Non-Serialized Untraceable Firearm (ENUF) ordinance went into effect Saturday within the City of San Diego. NBC 7's Allie Raffa has more.

"The city's novel ghost gun ordinance is an effective tool for removing untraceable firearms from the hands of criminals," City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. "We thank Councilmember Marni von Wilpert for bringing forward this ordinance, which keeps San Diego at the forefront of our nation's battle against gun violence."

According to the city attorney's office, Orozco pleaded guilty last month to three misdemeanor charges stemming from the City Heights arrest, including a count of possession of a non-serialized firearm. He was sentenced to 45 days in custody and one year of probation. As a result, his driver's license will be suspended for six months and he is prohibited from owning firearms for a year.

"It's clear from this conviction that San Diego's landmark ghost gun law is starting to work to stop the proliferation of dangerous, untraceable firearms in our community," said von Wilpert.

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