The Illinois chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after Illinois lawmakers passed House Bill 4383, legislation to address the threat of ghost guns — unserialized, untraceable homemade firearms, the building blocks of which can be obtained without a background check. This bill would ensure that all firearms are serialized, which would better allow law enforcement to trace firearms used in crimes. The bill now goes to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk to be signed into law.
“Ghost guns do not belong in our communities – we’re proud that our lawmakers continue to be leaders in the nation in prioritizing gun safety measures that protect our state,” said Rhiannon Jimenez, a volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Untraceable and undetectable firearms make it nearly impossible to hold perpetrators of violence accountable – this bill will give law enforcement officers the tools they need to better protect Illinois’ communities from gun violence. Governor Pritzker should follow our lawmakers lead, and sign this important bill into law.”
Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing our country. Ghost guns are impossible to trace, and across the country, law enforcement officers are recovering increasing numbers of homemade, unserialized guns from people who are legally prohibited from having guns. Nearly 2,500 ghost guns were connected to criminal activity in 102 federal cases over the past decade. ATF officials recently estimated that approximately 10,000 ghost guns were recovered across the U.S. in 2019. Today, President Joe Biden is also announcing the finalization of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rule today that addresses ghost guns at the federal level.
When investigators can trace a gun back to its first sale at retail, law enforcement agencies can have an initial lead in an investigation, identify straw purchasers and traffickers, and figure out how a gun arrived at a crime scene. Serializing all firearms would remove barriers that currently prevent local law enforcement officers from investigating gun crimes.
According to Everytown’s new gun law rankings report, Illinois has the sixth strongest gun safety laws in the country and is a national leader in enacting gun violence prevention laws. In an average year, 1,505 people die and 4,148 people are wounded by guns in Illinois. Gun violence costs Illinois $10.6 billion each year, of which $668.9 million is paid by taxpayers. Learn more about gun violence in Illinois here. More information about ghost guns is available here.