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Lengthy Senate ghost gun hearing stretches into the night

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A Senate committee heard its version of a bill to ban unserialized, untraceable firearms known as ghost guns in Maryland yesterday during a hearing that lasted well past sundown.

Lawmakers heard hours of testimony for and against the legislation, including from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, who recognized his city dominates much of the conversation around gun violence.

Scott noted more than 300 ghost guns were seized in Baltimore City in 2021, accounting for 15% of all guns seized.

“As long as people who are not legally allowed to possess a firearm, children, or known violent offenders have the opportunity to obtain and build these in the comfort of their own home and use them as tools of death, we will continue to have a major challenge on our hands,” Scott said.

“Firearms that do not have serial numbers and/or registration have no place on our streets, and it should not be easier to purchase and build one of these ghost guns than it is for me to buy medicine at CVS.”

But gun rights advocates charged the bill unfairly paints owners as criminals and infringes on their second amendment rights.

“This bill basically criminalizes a huge segment of existing gun owners who have done nothing wrong. They are hobbyists who've never committed a crime,” said Mark Pennak, president of gun owners' rights organization Maryland Shall Issue.

The committee must approve the bill before it goes before the full Senate.