San Jose votes to ban unserialized firearms

Beth LaBerge/KQED via AP, Pool

“Ghost guns,” or more properly called unserialized firearms, have been the thing the media has talked about for the last couple of years. That’s mostly been the result of fearmongering than any actual threat from such weapons, but it was more than enough to make San Jose nervous.


As Cam noted previously, San Jose was considering a ban on “ghost guns.”

Well, they went and did it.

San Jose is banning ghost guns — untraceable firearms that have increasingly been found at crime scenes in Santa Clara County over the last six years.

The ban is the latest attempt by city leaders to reduce gun violence in the nation’s tenth largest city.

While the federal government and California have passed recent legislation around ghost guns — which can be easily purchased online without a background check, built at home and lack a serial number — there is no current federal or state law that addresses the possession of ghost guns.

On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to make it illegal to possess, manufacture, sell or transfer ghost guns or their parts. San Jose’s law, which will give owners of ghost guns 120 days to apply for a serial number through the California Department of Justice, follows the suit of other cities like Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“While the new federal regulations help to stem the rising tide of ghost guns at the shoreline, it doesn’t enable us to do much about the ocean of guns that are already out there,” Mayor Sam Liccardo told this news organization.

Nor will it do anything about the surge of future unserialized firearms that will be made.

See, the problem here is that Liccardo and others seem to think that if you legislate against these things, the criminals just won’t be able to get them.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t seem to remember criminals having too much trouble getting firearms before unserialized firearms were much of a thing.


Further, I hate to break it to them, but unserialized firearms are here to stay. As it is, we can build guns completely from 3D printed parts. For now, they’re less than ideal, but over time, that’s going to change and you’re going to start having to face the fact that the genie is long out of the bottle and you can’t put it back in.

San Jose hasn’t actually accomplished anything.

Well, alright, that’s not true. They’ve made it so no one who enjoys putting things together and wants their own firearm without dealing with the inane regulations in California–regulations that artificially shrinks the supply of new firearms–can build their own gun. Yet those folks often aren’t really the problem.

No, the criminals will still do what they want. However, there aren’t that many using these kinds of firearms in the first place. Then again, we already know Liccardo is more about style over substance when it comes to violent crime.

Now, he’s just scapegoating unserialized firearms rather than something else.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member