With homicides occurring every day in Chicago and the use of makeshift online firearms up 400 percent over the past five years, Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) hopes her “Ghost Bill,” HB 4383, that passed and is awaiting the governor’s signature, will help reduce shootings and murders in Chicago and across the state.
Hoping her bill which passed on April 9, 2022, will reduce the production of ghost guns, Collins told the Chicago Crusader, “These guns are untraceable. Banning ghost guns decreases the flow of guns in our community and will help law enforcement to investigate and solve crimes. HB 4383 passed the Senate 31-19 and in the House 66-36 votes.
Passage of this Ghost Gun bill was hailed by Pam Bosley, who heads the Purpose Over Pain group which involves parents who have lost their children to gun violence. Bosley said, “Ghost guns are terrifying for me since in less than one hour, these self-made weapons become fully functioning and untraceable because they do not have serial numbers.
“Senator Collins introduced the gun ghost bill because she lives in the community and knows first-hand about the illegal guns that are flooding our streets and taking so many precious young lives, including my son Terrell who was smart, a college student, outgoing, talented and had dreams of becoming a famous bass player and traveling the world. Terrell’s dreams were ended at the age of 18 when he was shot and killed by an illegal 45 caliber on the grounds of a church,” recalled Bosley.
“This is the story of so many of our young men and women whose dreams were ended because of illegal guns that are flooding our communities and their murder cases remain unsolved.”
“My commitment to banning ghost guns and reducing violence in our state has not been, nor will it be, hindered by any obstacle, legislative or otherwise. So long as we allow fatal gun violence to run rampant in our communities, we leaders do a disservice to the people we represent, and it is my goal to assure the state is tackling these issues at their source,” said Senator Collins.
“Our communities have become too accustomed to the tragedies of fatal gun violence. Protecting our most vulnerable populations requires initiatives like this that stop the(Cporonlitfienruateiodnonofpdaegaed6ly) weapons, prevent crime, and support people as they navigate through adverse circumstances,” said Collins.
According to the bill introduced by Senator Collins, HB 4383 would require all firearms including 3D printed guns to have a serial number including unfinished frames or receivers that are produced, marketed, and sold to people to put together into a functioning firearm. Her bill would ban ghost guns, and it calls for those who already own unserialized firearms or gun kits to have them serialized within 180 days of the effective date of the law.
The bill states that anyone who is in possession of these ghost guns or gun kits in violation of these requirements would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first violation, and is guilty of a Class 3 felony on a second or subsequent violation.
And, anyone who sells these ghost guns, or offers to sell or transfer them will be guilty of a Class 4 felony for the first violation and is guilty of a Class 2 felony for a second or subsequent violation.
The most common material that is used in 3D printing guns is thermoplastic, a plastic polymer that becomes moldable at a certain elevated temperature and solidifies upon cooling. Printing times can vary from as little as 30 minutes to several days.
According to Collins’ bill, Illinois gun laws require people to have a valid FOID card to possess a firearm or ammunition; however, these requirements do not apply to firearm parts or kits. “Due to the ease of access and assembly, these firearms are proliferating,” Collins’ bill states.
Representative La Shawn Ford (D-8th) agreed with Collins regarding ghost guns, saying they are a problem that is “staring us in the face, and we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the proliferation of these ghost guns.”
Ford said you cannot have law-abiding gun owners who have to register their guns and pay fees and those ghost gun buyers whose homemade firearms are invisible to law enforcement officials.
Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, commended Collins for passing the Ghost Gun bill. “This is a bold move by Senator Collins to address the pandemic of gun violence not just here in Chicago but around the country. It is very apparent that there are persons who would seek everything that is necessary to go around both federal and state laws and find loopholes” to purchase illegal guns.
“Not only can they disseminate these weapons, but they can enhance them, the proliferation of them…where lives are lost, families are broken and communities are beyond repair. This is a moral obligation, moral responsibility, and the governor should give this immediate attention and sign this bill into law right away,” Grant told the Chicago Crusader.
Another member of Purpose Over Pain, Delphine Cherry was the mother of four; she now has only two children as a result of gun violence. Like Bosley, her life will never be the same and she too has become an anti-gun activist who is also working with the Brady United group. Her nightmare began on January 17, 1992, when Eyesa Abney, her16-year-old daughter, went to a Gold Coast theater. She was a senior in high school.
“A fight broke out inside of the theater, and it escalated outside,” recalled Cherry. “My daughter and her friends were running for cover. When the shooting began, she said the bullet ricocheted, hitting her in the head. The teen had dreamed of being a nurse like her grandmother.”
Cherry, who was pregnant at the time with her son, said 20 years passed following her daughter’s murder. Her son, Tyler Randolph, had graduated from high school and was working at Walmart. He was in his second semester in junior college. “My son was going to a friend’s birthday party when someone fatally shot him in my driveway,” Cherry said.
“From this point, I began working hard on getting the guns off the streets, Cherry said.
“I went to Indiana where they said it is easy to buy guns, and I bought three of them including two that were illegal.” Cherry, who had a FOID card, said she dropped them off at a police station on 111th Street. Since then, she has focused her attention on banning ghost guns which she says “are being used to circumvent gun laws. We’ve seen ghost guns used in school shootings, domestic violence incidents, mass shootings, and in gun trafficking rings.
“There were 455 ghost guns recovered in Chicago last year, up from 139 in 2020,” Cherry said. “This is a growing problem, and it is right that we stop it now. We need gun violence prevention solutions, not more guns in our communities.”