CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB4383 Wednesday, which makes buying, selling or possessing guns without serial numbers illegal in the state.
So-called “ghost guns” are virtually untraceable due to the lack of serial number, and have been bought by individuals online without a background check or firearms owner identification card.
The governor signed the bill into law Wednesday at a press conference attended by the Rev. Michael Pfleger and other officials who have been outspoken about gun violence.
Chicago police Supt. David Brown said the new law will save live and mentioned that gun recovery is up 64% at this point over last year, and in 2021 it was up 70% compared to 2020.
“Last year, over 20,000 ghost guns were involved in criminal investigations nationwide,” Gov. Pritzker said. “These easy to access weapons will be phased out of existence, promoting safe legal gun ownership in every corner of the state.”
Pritzker said the law is just a small pieces of a much larger effort to decrease gun violence.
Since WGN Investigates first reported in 2018 on the online market for these weapons, Chicago police have seen an increase in their presence on the streets. CPD recovered just two ghost guns in 2016. The number increased to 139 in 2020 and then tripled to 455 last year.
With the new legislation, any person who sells, offers to sell, or transfers a ghost gun can be found guilty of a Class 4 felony for the first violation, and a Class 2 felony for subsequent violations.
Effective after the signing, any person who is found possessing, transporting or receiving a ghost gun can be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for the first violation, and a Class 3 felony for subsequent violations.
The legislation passed the Senate 31 to 19 on April 9, and the House 66-36 that same day.
Illinois is the first Midwestern state to ban ghost guns.