AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

Pennsylvania ‘Ghost Gun’ Bill Clears House

A lot of people like building their own firearms. They love the fact that they live in a nation that’s free enough that people can use the latest technology to churn out a firearm of their very own, one they didn’t have to ask for government permission to buy.

Some states prefer subjects to citizens, stripping people of the right to build their own guns, however. Most still permit the practice, but a handful don’t.

In Pennsylvania, they still do allow it. However, a bill seeking to change that just cleared the state House.

The legislation passed the House 104-97, with almost all Democrats and three Republicans voting in favor of it.
The bill will likely face a cold reception in the GOP-controlled state Senate, which has not taken up gun control measures advanced by the House this session.
So-termed “ghost guns” are firearms that don’t have serial numbers, making them difficult to trace. The measure would criminalize the sale of firearms or firearm parts without serial numbers. Anyone who purchases a gun or gun part — such as a muffler or silencer — that lacks a serial number would also face felony charges.
At least six other states have passed similar legislation, said the bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Morgan Cephas (D-192nd Dist.).
“I want to go on record in saying: In this body, for far too long, we constantly focus on singularly going after bad actors once the crimes are committed,” she said. “This bill is an opportunity to get in front of this issue like so many other states.”
The bill is part of a package of gun control reform measures Democrats have pursued since taking the majority in 2023. They passed a slate of measures, including an assault rifle ban, out of committee in January, which still requires a floor vote. Other measures sent to the state Senate have been halted.

Now, I get where Cephas is coming from. Punishing people after the fact is less than ideal, mostly because the damage is already done. The best that can be done is to hope they’re locked up for long enough that the next bunch of potential victims don’t get hurt.

But you’re not “getting in front of this issue” by restricting the actions of law-abiding citizens.

You see, the genie is out of the bottle. You’re never going to stop people from making their own guns. 3D printers are a thing and you can even make those for yourself. That means people can print their own receivers without asking government permission. The files are out there and you’re never going to stop them at this point.

As they say, the internet is forever.

The rest are just parts, pieces people can buy for replacements for damaged or worn-out parts for their legally owned firearms. They’re unserialized and are likely to remain unserialized. 

Because of these two facts, you’re not going to prevent anyone from making their own gun who is inclined to do so regardless of the laws.

All you’re doing is telling law-abiding citizens they can’t do something because of the actions of completely different people. That’s not “getting in front of this issue,” that’s freaking out because actually getting in front of the issue requires a lot of hard work that doesn’t make headlines and doesn’t win reelection in progressive, anti-gun districts.

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