House sends bill to crack down on ‘ghost guns’ to Senate

Proposal would penalize the sale and purchase of untraceable firearms or firearm parts

HARRISBURG, March 27 – The PA House today passed legislation (H.B. 777) that aims to eliminate the proliferation of “ghost guns” in Pennsylvania and crack down on those who buy or sell them.

The bill, sponsored by state Reps. Morgan Cephas and Malcolm Kenyatta, both D-Phila., would impose felony charges on anyone who sells or purchases a firearm or firearm parts without serial numbers.

Cephas said these untraceable firearms are a main driver of crime, especially in Philadelphia.

“Ghost guns are far too easily obtainable in Philadelphia and in our neighboring municipalities, leading to day-to-day gun violence in our communities that has no end,” Cephas said. “For far too long, Pennsylvania has remined singularly focused on what we do after crimes are committed with guns, rather than the unfettered access to these deadly weapons. I am thankful that the House is now moving legislation to be proactive in preventing gun violence in our communities through commonsense reforms like making it harder to sell or buy ghost guns and untraceable firearm parts.”   

Cephas added that the state must act because municipal governments are prevented from doing so under state law.

“The preemption of local action has been a significant barrier to reducing gun violence in Philadelphia and other municipalities who are desperate to end the scourge of gun proliferation and violence in their communities,” she said. “Today’s House action is a significant step to help address the issue for our local governments.”

Pennsylvanians deserve to live in safe communities. By removing dangerous and untraceable guns from our streets we move closer to that goal,” Kenyatta said. “It’s about saving lives, ensuring that people who shouldn’t have firearms don’t have them and restoring hope and peace in our city.”

Ending gun violence also is a major pillar in the policy platform of the Philadelphia House Delegation, of which Cephas is chair. Cephas credits the work of the entire delegation in helping to get the ghost gun legislation to the House floor and through the chamber.

President Joe Biden took executive action in 2022 requiring background checks for someone purchasing a gun kit, as well as for the sellers of kits. However, gaps in Pennsylvania law allow the high demand for untraceable ghost guns and gun parts to be met without any oversight.