Senator Gillibrand pushes new legislation to end ghost guns at the source

Mother of Angellyh Yambo, Yanely Enriquez, holds a photograph of her daughter who was killed by a ghost gun in 2022.
Photo by Dean Moses

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Monday new anti-ghost gun legislation taking aim at the ability to construct the deadly weapons at home and share blueprints to do so online. 

According to police sources, the distribution and proliferation of ghost guns has become a concerning epidemic that puts the lives of both officers and the public at risk. The NYPD has spent years attempting to combat the crisis, however, the weapons keep popping up. In the past year, there has been a 75% increase in ghost gun seizures, according to Police Department Data.

NYPD Commanding Officer of the Field Intelligence Program Courtney Nilan has repeatedly told amNewYork Metro that the rise in ghost guns is a direct effect of its low cost and the convenience for many criminals.

While it is illegal to own a fully assembled 3D-printed gun, current law does not make it illegal to print the weapon using a 3D printer — which one can acquire for as little as $200. People who are unlicensed and have criminal backgrounds can also print gun parts that are unserialized and extremely difficult to trace.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Monday a new anti-ghost gun legislation that takes aim at the ability to construct the deadly weapons and share them online. Photo by Dean Moses

“The components are often purchased in ghost gun kits or even 3D printed using instructions found on the internet. Pretty much anyone — felons, domestic abusers, even minors — can go online and get these blueprints and instruction manuals without a background check,” Senator Gillibrand said.

Police say firearm enthusiasts share these blueprints in online circles and even offer aid printing and perfecting the designs of these killing machines. With this in mind, Gillibrand says she is looking to cut off these practices at the source. Dubbed the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act, the new federal legislation looks to ban online distribution of blueprints for the 3D printing of firearms by making it illegal to publish and or distribute the blueprints.

“Those who shouldn’t have a gun also shouldn’t be able to print one with just the click of a mouse,” Gillibrand said. “By cracking down on the blueprints as well as the guns themselves, we can limit the availability of ghost guns and make it more difficult for dangerous individuals to get their hands on them.”

Yanely Enriquez, mother of Sixteen-year-old Angellyh Yambo weeps. Photo by Dean Moses

The families of victims of ghost guns say they support the measure. Sixteen-year-old Angellyh Yambo was caught in the crossfire of a ghost gun and killed near her South Bronx home in April of 2020. Yambo’s mother, Yanely Enriquez, and aunt joined Gillibrand for the announcement, while holding a photograph of their lost loved one.

“[Yambo] wanted to become a doctor. But now all we have is memories as we still mourn her loss,” her aunt, Mary Hernandez, said, weeping. “With the advent of 3D printing, we are proud to support the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act. This legislation to prohibit the online distribution of blueprints.”

The bill is supported by the Detectives’ Endowment Association, State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Angellyh Yambo Foundation and other gun safety advocates.