By Stetson Miller

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a rally in Annapolis on Tuesday to push for state lawmakers to pass a bill that would ban ghost guns.

“We cannot afford to lose more lives to easily accessible ghost guns,” said Denise Reed, a member of the Moms Demand Action chapter.

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The advocates gathered at Lawyer’s Mall and stood alongside delegates and other supporters of the bill.

“We’ve seen an exponential rise of these showing up in crime scenes and being recovered by police departments,” said Melissa Ladd, the leader of the Moms Demand Action chapter.

Ghost guns are firearms made with parts purchased online that allow people to skirt background checks.

“There’s a market of folks who are prohibited, who want access to firearms and this is a legal loophole that allows them to do that,” said Delegate Lesley Lopez, the lead sponsor of the bill in the House of Delegates.

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The bill would ban the sale, receipt and transfer of unfinished frames and receivers that do not have a serial number by June 1. Possession of guns without a serial number would become illegal in early 2023 if the bill is passed.  And owners of ghost guns would have the chance to sell their guns to a dealer before then or have them imprinted with a serial number by a federally licensed arms dealer.

Ladd said that Moms Demand Action has been pushing for laws to regulate ghost guns for the last five years but believes Maryland legislators will be able to pass the bill in 2022 because ghost guns are becoming more prevalent and because several state leaders support the bill including Attorney General Brian Frosh.

17-year-old Walt Whitman High School senior Lily Freeman joined the advocates pleading for action.

“We have seen such little change in our lives when it comes to gun violence,” she said.

Freeman told rally attendees about the Friday shooting at Magruder High School, during which police say one student shot another with a ghost gun. She said students around the country are all too familiar with incidents like it.

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“Today I am thinking of the Magruder High School community. I wish more than anything that there was more that I could do for you. And that is where my plea comes in,” said Freeman. “To Maryland’s lawmakers, I hope that you work with us to ban ghost guns in our state and you continue to bring this issue to the front of your priority list.”

Stetson Miller