D.C. Council Quickly Fixes ‘Ghost Gun’ Law after Court Challenge by Heller

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D.C. Council Quickly Fixes 'Ghost Gun' Law after Court Challenge by Heller
D.C. councilmembers quickly drafted a fix for a recently passed law banning homemade firearms like these that unwittingly banned most if not all polymer-framed pistols. (Photo: Polymer80)

Washington, D.C. councilmembers voted to amend a recently passed law restricting the manufacture and ownership of so-called “ghost guns” after a group of plaintiffs filed a suit (.pdf) against the district highlighting its flaws. Leading the charge was none other than Dick A. Heller.

The plaintiffs argued that the new restrictions were so broad that they would essentially make all polymer-framed handguns illegal, including many police-issue pistols. And while agencies and the military were exempted from the ban, it was a strong enough challenge that the D.C. Council voted to change the law preemptively.

The way the original legislation was written banned any firearm with a frame that could pass through a metal detector unnoticed after all of the other parts were removed, which obviously affected many of the most popular modern handguns.

Practically every major firearms company offers polymer-framed pistols due to their popularity for self-defense, shooting sports, handgun hunting, etc.

The updated law would allow D.C. residents to once again own these pistols as well as manufacture them, as long as they have unique serial numbers registered with the district. The amendments still have a metal detector requirement, but now it’s been extended to include the rest of the firearm parts necessary for it function.

The amended language was passed by a 12 to 1 vote. The holdout was councilwoman Brooke Pinto who said, “The proliferation of ghost guns in our city is certainly not what the founders anticipated or intended,” and “I’m hoping for more clarification on why we as a city have to continue allowing something that in my view is extremely outside the scope of what the founders intended.”

SEE ALSO: Polymer80 AFT Kit Designed for the Home Handgun Builder

The term “ghost gun” is used as a catch-all term that extends well beyond homemade firearms. It also includes stolen firearms, guns with defaced serial numbers and in general, illegally owned guns. It’s grown to include homemade guns because they often have polymer receivers which, without the rest of the firearm components, may be able to pass through a metal detector unnoticed.

Again, the same is true for a huge portion of all handguns in use today, which is why the case was so relevant. George L. Lyon Jr., representing Heller, is still pursuing a preliminary injunction against the law.

Lyon argues that if the underlying law remains in place, the D.C. Council can reverse their amendment with the stroke of a pen, and that it must be thrown out entirely.

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  • Bob November 27, 2021, 12:48 pm

    For the information of the ignorant gun grabbing beotch – in the time of our founding fathers, MOST firearms were “home made”.

    When are they going to stop trying to burn the constitution????

  • rt66paul November 27, 2021, 11:35 am

    These gun grabbers are afraid of any gun that they can not track, because they want to know where every gun is. Build at home firearms don’t have a serial number, unless you live in Ca(you are legally required to get one here). This is the main reason – other than that, they do NOT want people to be able to repair their weapons, they want them scrapped.
    It is a shame how many people believe the BS reasons these people use. I don’t know how many times I have heard people going on about assault weapons, claiming they are fully automatic and we need to make them illegal.

  • linkman November 25, 2021, 9:51 pm

    “The proliferation of ghost guns in our city is certainly not what the founders anticipated or intended,”

    Total lie. Firearms have been made at home — without serial numbers — on this continent long before the USA became a nation.

    • Altoids November 26, 2021, 9:13 am

      Beat me to the keyboard.
      How many firearms were serialized when the founding fathers wrote 2A?

    • Lying Bastard November 26, 2021, 10:35 am

      The proliferation of Twitter and farsebook culture cancelling was not what the founders anticipated or intended

  • Jim from LI November 25, 2021, 9:24 pm

    I thought the whole “can’t be seen in a metal detector” argument was settled back in the 80’s when polymer frame guns were required to have a metal insert. There has to be some metal in the frame to hold the serial number anyway.

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