Judge denies gun owners in lawsuit to block order

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a request by local gun owners to block San Diego’s recently signed order banning “ghost guns” in the city.

The lawsuit filed last month in federal court in San Diego, hours after Mayor Todd Gloria signed the order, sought to block enforcement of the ban prohibiting possession, buying, selling, receiving and transporting unserialized and incomplete frames and receivers, and non-serialized firearms, all of which are commonly referred to as phantom weapons.

Firearms, also known as “do-it-yourself guns,” are handcrafted, homemade firearms that do not have a commercial serial number. They are not found due to the lack of identifying marks and therefore may escape state and federal regulations that apply to firearms, such as background checks.

The ordinance on the elimination of non-traceable, non-serialized firearms – or ENUF – comes into force on Saturday.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Firearms Policy Coalition, the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, and San Diego residents James Fahr, Desiree Bergman and Colin Rudolph, alleges ban violates Second Amendment rights of law-abiding San Diego .

“The right of individuals to manufacture weapons themselves for self-defense and other lawful purposes is integral to the Second Amendment right to keep and bear weapons and constitutes an important front in the battle to ensure fundamental rights against abusive government regulations like the one in San Diego. unconstitutional ban, ”said Adam Kraut, senior director of coalition legal operations.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant issued a written decision denying the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction in the case, stating that San Diegans can still acquire self-made weapons that are serialized and purchased from licensed vendors.

Bashant wrote: “The ordinance does not completely prohibit, as the complainants suggest, the right to own necessary frames and receivers (to) create one’s own firearm, but rather restricts the self-manufacture of firearms using only unfinished frames and receivers. “

Bashant also wrote that the ordinance is a reasonable step “to achieve the city’s objectives of reducing the threat that phantom weapons pose to the city’s stated substantial and important interests.” In doing so, this court observes that it joins with other courts in concluding that general regulation of non-serialized firearms closely aligns with the interests of governments in crime prevention and investigation.

The order drafted by City Councilor Marni von Wilpert came in response to a reported increase in the proliferation of phantom weapons in the town, and closely followed a fatal shooting in the Gaslamp neighborhood which police said was committed with a phantom weapon. Authorities allege the alleged shooter was banned from owning firearms, a common denominator among almost everyone who has been caught with ghost weapons, according to police.

San Diego Police say the number of ghost guns recovered by law enforcement has increased steadily every year, with 2021 already surpassing the number of ghost guns seized by police in 2019 and 2020. The department says the Ghost guns accounted for nearly 20% of all guns seized by police this year.

Earlier this week, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in favor of developing an ordinance banning phantom weapons throughout the county.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.


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