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Ghost Guns Are Now Prohibited in Hawaii. Here’s What to Know About These Untraceable Do-It-Yourself Firearms

September 25, 2020

Last week, Hawaii became the latest state to take action on ghost guns by enacting House Bill 2744 into law. Passed by the Hawaii legislature in July, House Bill 2744 will prohibit ghost guns and ban the manufacture or purchase of parts for the purpose of assembling such guns with no serial numbers.

Since May 2019, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Rhode Island have signed legislation to regulate ghost guns. Attorneys general in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania have also taken action on ghost guns. The New York state senate also recently moved two ghost gun bills that are awaiting action in the assembly. In 2019, New York also passed a bill to regulate 3D guns.  

Ghost guns are one of the country’s fastest-growing gun safety problems. Here’s more on these largely untraceable, do-it-yourself firearms:

  • Ghost guns are often built using unfinished receivers, parts and kits that can be acquired without a background check — making it easy for people who are legally prohibited from purchasing firearms to build their own deadly weapons.
  • Because these DIY firearms aren’t marked with serial numbers, they cannot be traced by law enforcement if they’re used to commit crimes.
  • In May, Everytown Support Fund released a report highlighting the proliferation and danger of ghost guns. Everytown reviewed 114 federal prosecutions from 2010 to April 2020 and found that more than 2,500 ghost guns were connected to criminal activity.
  • A flawed ATF interpretation in the mid-2000s caused this problem and Everytown has asked the ATF to update its regulation to make sure no one can sell the core building blocks for ghost guns without a background check or serial number.

The enactment of House Bill 2744 to prohibit ghost guns is also the latest example of gun safety progress in Hawaii and the latest defeat in the state for the gun lobby. In 2019, Gov. Ige signed legislation to enact a red flag law in Hawaii.  

Statistics about gun violence in Hawaii are available here, and information on how Hawaii’s gun laws compared to other states overall is available here

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