Washington AG targets ban on ghost guns in 2019
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s legislative agenda for 2019 covers a lot of ground. One particular part though regarding the purchase and sale of “ghost guns,” though, could prove especially controversial.
“Ghost guns” are essentially untraceable firearms that are ordered through the mail, and often made with plastic using a 3D printer. The issue surrounding ghost guns arose in 2018, and prompted legal action.
Now, AG Ferguson is looking to ban ghost guns entirely come 2019.
“This is common sense,” he told KIRO Radio.”Ghost guns are a real threat — because they’re made out of plastic, they can go through security at your Seahawks game or at your airport.”
The proposed legislation would not only ban the production and distribution of ghost guns, but also the dissemination of written instructions on how to print one yourself at home, be it on a website or via email.
It would also increase the criminal penalty for using a ghost gun in a felony.
This would only apply to guns that “cannot be reliably detected by a metal detector,” and would not extend to legal, detectable firearms.
“I don’t think we should wait until we have a problem at a football game or on an airplane,” said Ferguson. “I think it’s important to make sure our laws keep up with the changes in technology that are occurring.”
At the forefront of opposition to a ghost gun ban has been Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson. A self-described crypto-anarchist, Wilson hand-fired the first 3D-printed gun in May 2013, and has vocally pushed an agenda in favor of such weapons in the years since.
After eight states — led by Washington — sued the federal government over 3D-printed guns in 2018, Wilson and Defense Distributed protested by sending printable ghost gun files over email to anyone who asked for one.
Not long after that, President Donald Trump Tweeted that he was “looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public,” and that the guns didn’t “seem to make much sense.”
In September 2018, Wilson faced charges alleging he had sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl, as well as a second-degree felony saying he paid $500 to a girl for sex in an Austin, Texas hotel.
Not long after that, he fled the country to Taiwan, who in turn sent him back to the U.S. after his passport was revoked. He was booked into federal custody in late-September. He has since cut all ties with Defense Distributed, who themselves continue to carry the banner in support of ghost guns.
Proposed gun control in 2019
Ferguson’s gun control agenda in 2019 is expansive. Three of the 11 total bills his office proposed focus on guns, including limits to high capacity magazines, a ban on assault weapons, and the aforementioned ghost gun ban.
This all comes in the wake of I-1639’s passage and 2019 implementation, representing the most restrictive gun control measures on the books for any state in the country.