04.21.21 Ghost guns could be regulated by new California bill

Excerpted from the Orange County Register

By Brooke Staggs

A man who went on a shooting rampage in the tiny Northern California town of Rancho Tehama Reserve in 2017, killing five people, had a court order prohibiting him from buying or owning guns.

But Kevin Janson Neal took advantage of a loophole in California laws aimed at keeping guns away from people flagged as dangerous: He built his own rifles at home.

Now, a first-of-its-kind bill from Assembly Member Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, might close that loophole. The bill would expand California’s “red flag law,” which lets authorities temporarily seize guns from anyone shown to be a danger to themselves or others, to also cover key parts of so-called “ghost guns,” the increasingly common home-built guns that often can’t be traced.

“Right now, when law enforcement go to someone’s house, they can confiscate regular guns but they cannot confiscate ghost guns even when they know someone is really, really dangerous,” Petrie-Norris said.

“If it looks like a gun, and shoot like a gun, it’s a gun,” she added. “Closing this loophole is simple common sense.”

Petrie-Norris’ Assembly Bill 1057 passed out of the Public Safety committee Tuesday, April 20, with bipartisan support. It now heads to a fiscal committee before it faces a vote on the Assembly floor.