Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday signed a bill into law banning the sale and possession of “ghost guns” in Illinois, saying that they pose an “unprecedented threat.”
Pritzker signed House Bill 4383 into law Wednesday morning while holding a press conference at The Ark of St. Sabina in Chicago.
Ghost guns refer to unserialized privately made firearms that are often sold as a set of parts to be assembled at home, allowing prohibited purchasers to circumvent background checks.
Ghost guns cannot be traced by conventional means and can be created on a 3-D printer, leaving no record of their ownership, officials said.
“The people creating, selling, and purchasing these firearms know that they’re working to circumvent common-sense gun laws that ensure guns stay out of the hands of traffickers, abusers, and convicted criminals,” Pritzker said.
“We are seeing these unserialized guns being built in basements by those who should never have had access to such dangerous weapons and then used to commit heinous crimes, and it must be stopped to keep Illinoisans safe,” Pritzker added.
The governor’s office said in a statement that Illinois is a “trailblazer [in] the fight against ghost guns.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has focused on ghost guns, recognizing the “unprecedented threat these unregulated weapons pose,” the governor’s office said.
The Illinois State Police have worked on 28 cases involving ghost guns this month alone.
The governor’s office said that ghost guns are cheaper and easier to acquire than conventional firearms and therefore more accessible to young people.
Pritzker said the bill signed into law is part of a “holistic, multi-pronged” approach to violence prevention.
“Recent events serve as a tragic reminder of the rising toll of gun violence across this country. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect Illinoisans, which is what this new law does,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park).
“Untraceable guns are a rapidly growing threat to our communities and law enforcement,” said Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Welch.
“I’m proud to see Illinois become the first state in the Midwest to ban ghost guns, and to keep these weapons out of the hands of dangerous criminals,” Welch said.
In 2021, Pritzker signed legislation expanding background checks on gun sales in Illinois and modernizing the Firearm Owners Identification Card System.