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Del Mar may ask fairgrounds to stop sale of 'ghost gun' parts

Posted at 5:40 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-07 11:42:39-05

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — The Del Mar Fairgrounds may face increased pressure to stop the Crossroads of the West gun show from selling so-called 'ghost gun' kits at its show starting later this month.

The Del Mar City Council on Monday will consider passing a resolution recommending the Del Mar Fairgrounds ask the show to prohibit its vendors from selling unregulated firearm parts, components and gun-build kids. The items do not have serial numbers and can be purchased at the show without a background check or registration.

The Crossroads of the West Gun Show, which begins March 14, is likely in its final year at the state-owned fairgrounds. That's because a new law banning the sale of guns and ammo on the fairgrounds takes effect Jan. 1, 2021.

RELATED: Return of Del Mar gun show sparks debate

"Ghost guns are an increasing problem in California," the city said in a staff report. "Law enforcement Representative estimate there are several hundred thousand ghost guns nationwide, and that nearly half of all recent crime investigations in Southern California include untraceable firearms assembled from unregulated parts and components."

In a statement, gun show president Tracy Olcott said so-called ghost guns are 100 percent legal and that building them is a hobby many enthusiasts enjoy.

"These are gun parts kits that an individual can purchase and, after acquiring a serial number from the California Department of Justice, begin the process of assembling the kit," Olcott said.

The Southern California ATF says untraceable guns make up 30 percent of the guns it buys undercover or are seizes. Additionally, the 16-year-old suspect in last year's Saugus High School shooting used a home-made gun.

In California, those who build the guns from the kits are required to register them with the State Justice Department, and can go to jail if they don't. But Rose Ann Sharp, who heads the group Never Again CA, which has fought to end the Del Mar gun show, says that's not realistic.

"Do you think a 16-year-old is going to register the gun? Do you think a felon is going to register a gun? Do you think someone who is suicidal who is not going to pass a background check is going to register a gun? No," she said.

But Danielle Jaymes, who heads sales at Poway Weapons and Gear range, said people who want to break the law will, no matter what.

"If they aren't legally allowed to buy a gun in California and they go across state lines and buy an unfinished frame and then build up themselves, they're going to do it," she said. "They're always going to find a way around the laws in order to circumvent them."

A spokeswoman for the Del Mar Fairgrounds did not immediately issue a statement on the proposed ordinance.