'Ghost gun' legislation: Illinois bill would crack down on the untraceable weapons

Ghost guns are homemade weapons that are untraceable and don't need a background check to be acquired.

Now, one Illinois lawmaker says it's time to crack down.

State Representative Kam Buckner says commonsense gun legislation is needed, and he's hoping for bipartisan support.

Ghost guns can be purchased online and come in a kit. They can be assembled in just 15 minutes and don't even have a serial number.

Rep. Buckner says ghost guns have claimed more than 9,000 lives so far this year nationwide and in Chicago, police took more than 400 of them off the street last year.


Across the area, police departments are starting to see more and more ghost guns on the street.

"I would estimate out of every 10 guns we seize, at least 2 to 3 are ghost guns," said Sgt. Dwayne English with the Joliet Police Department. "We just want to make sure these guns stay out of the hands of criminals and not used in crimes because on our part, it is very hard to trace those weapons."

For police departments like Joliet, there's such an increase in ghost guns that they are looking into how to create a database.

"We are taking a look to start to track these weapons using anything we can to identify these weapons; color, make, model or anything like that," said Sgt. English.

With House Bill 5731, the Chicago Democrat wants to make the transfer, purchase, manufacturing, importation and possession of ghost guns all illegal. But first, law enforcement has to find those building and possessing the guns.

"But when we’re talking about ghost guns, it's very hard to track and to trace where these things are being printed, where the kits are coming from, and that's part of the reason that people are embracing them, right? This is why we need this legislation to at least be able to figure out what's going on. These things fly completely under the radar, which makes things much more dangerous for all of us," Buckner said.

State Rep. Buckner says this legislation was introduced on Friday and now he's working to get it to committee. It will of course need 60 votes to make it out of the House and to the Senate.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he supports the legislation and that "time is of the essence."