More than 70 ghost guns seized so far in Montgomery County

Maryland's ghost gun ban begins this week

House Bill 425 and Senate Bill 387 were reportedly brought forward at the behest of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, with the backing of two state delegates representing Montgomery County, Maryland.

When lawmakers talk about ghost guns, they are referring to the kits you can buy online to build a firearm privately. The gun doesn’t have a serial number like it would if the firearm were purchased through a licensed firearm dealer. 

Gun control advocates argue this makes them virtually untraceable.

States Attorney John McCarthy testified in favor of the Maryland ghost gun ban after the Magruder High School shooting in January. At the time, police confirmed a ghost gun was used. McCarthy says when it comes to the rise in violent crime in the county, more people under 21 are buying and building guns.

Maryland's ghost gun ban goes into effect June 1

"Because of the sheer number of these things that have flooded into our state, we’re going to be dealing with the repercussions of this for a while, but we’ve got to stem the flow of those guns," McCarthy said. "Children are going online and ordering them."

After the Magruder High school shooting, McCarthy noted county police had seized just 16 ghost guns in 2019 compared to around 70 in 2021. On Monday, McCarthy told FOX 5 police have already surpassed last year’s number.

Those against the bill argue, among other things, that the ban impacts people who have been legally building guns for centuries. Mark Pennak, who told FOX 5 he testified against the ban, said the ban could result in a significant due process issue.

READ MORE: Maryland man admits to using ghost gun to shoot at Secret Service security guards

"As of March 1, they will become criminals if they fail to get serialization from a federal firearm licensee. And many of those individuals probably will never get the word that they were supposed to serialize them," Pennak said. "They may have held those guns for decades and they’ve all of a sudden, they’ve become criminals – that’s a major due process problem." 

"Bull****," responded Page Anderson while visiting family from Texas. "They can still get their guns, the hobbyists. But they don’t have to buy them online do they? It just doesn’t make sense to me that people should be able to get guns like that to put them together."


FOX 5 asked a number of people around Downtown Rockville about the ghost gun ban. Several responded that they did not know what a ghost gun is let alone that a Maryland ban on them begins this week.

The ban will be carried out in two phases. Starting on Wednesday, the purchase, sale, or transfer of unfinished frames or receivers will be illegal in Maryland. The punishment could include five years behind bars and/or a $10,000 fine. 

March 1, 2023 is when the possession ban will begin. Certain firearms are exempt. 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan allowed the bill to become law without signing it. 

He acknowledged back in April that he is still calling on the Maryland General Assembly to pass the Violent Firearms Offender Act that would increase penalties for those found to illegally use a firearm in a violent crime. 

Hogan’s full letter can be found here