SANTA FE — The New Mexico chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the New Mexico House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee passed HB 166, a bill to regulate ghost guns, untraceable, do-it-yourself firearms made from parts available without a background check. When it comes to gun violence, the rise of ghost guns is the fastest-growing gun safety problem we’ve seen in years.
“Today the New Mexico legislature took an important first step in regulating our fastest growing gun violence problem in the country,” said Dr. Lorian Kostranchuk, a volunteer leader for the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These days, you can buy the parts to make an untraceable firearm as easily as you can online shop. With a credit card and a few clicks of the mouse, anyone can buy the parts to make an untraceable ghost gun at home— without having to pass a background check. We are grateful for the leadership of the committee and will fight for this bill until it reaches the Governor’s desk.”
Due to pandemic-related panic-buying ghost gun building blocks have been flying off the shelves. In fact, the first few weeks after the pandemic began, more than a dozen online ghost gun sellers reported shipping delays and depleted stock.
Making a ghost gun takes only a few hours, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has allowed the core building blocks for these guns to be sold online with no background check or serial number. Because of the ATF’s erroneous interpretation of federal law, ghost gun building blocks can be delivered right to the front door of a convicted domestic abuser, gun trafficker, child, or white supremacist without a background check — and are untraceable if later used to commit a crime.
Although data is limited, there are signs that ghost guns are taking prevalence in criminal markets. Over the last decade, nearly 2,500 ghost guns were connected to criminal activity in 102 federal cases. In 2019, the ATF in California reported 30 percent of guns they recovered have no serial number on them, making it impossible for law enforcement to trace.
More information about ghost guns is available here. Additional information on gun violence in New Mexico is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how New Mexico’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.