So-called “Ghost Guns” continue to be a hot topic for state and local governments across the nation.  Now, in Washington state, lawmakers are taking steps to limit, but not outright ban, “Ghost Guns.”

“Ghost Guns” are firearms that are referred to as “untraceable” because they lack serial numbers and are often built from plastics or other materials, and in many cases have components that can be fabricated with a 3D printer.

The Washington State House of Representatives recently passed a bill, House Bill 1739, which would prohibit  “a person from knowingly or recklessly allowing, facilitating, aiding, or abetting the manufacture or assembly of an undetectable firearm or untraceable firearm if he or she: (1) Is ineligible to possess a firearm; or (2) Has signed a valid voluntary waiver of firearm rights that has not been revoked.”

The bill now moves on for consideration in the Washington State Senate.  The Washington bill is far less expansive than the law passed in New Jersey late last year (read more about New Jersey’s law here), and specifically targets those who have lost their rights to possess a firearm, such as felons.  The bill was sponsored by Representative Javier Valdez, and was supported by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who said in a statement, “I support the Second Amendment. With that said, we cannot allow felons and other dangerous individuals to make an end-run around our state’s background check requirements by printing untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns.” 

Ferguson is also a prominent figure in the case against Defense Distributed and their attempt to release free files that would allow firearms and firearm components to be printed on a 3D printer at home.  While numerous state attorneys general have joined the case against Defense Distributed, Ferguson is the lead plaintiff in the case, and among the most outspoken opponents of Defense Distributed and others advocating for distributing the files.

We will continue to monitor legal and legislative developments that impact the industry.  For questions about the Washington law, or laws and regulations across the United States, please contact John Renzulli (jrenzulli@renzullilaw.com) or Chris Renzulli (crenzulli@renzullilaw.com).