Ottawa police seizing ‘ghost guns’

Privately manufactured firearms with no serial number, now illegal, being seized

Ottawa Police Department have seized 57 firearms within city limits over the past year, and recently the seizures include “ghost guns,” also known as privately manufactured firearms.

“Such firearms contain no serial number or ability to be uniquely identified,” said Det. Sgt. Kyle Booras in a Tuesday news release. “On May 18, 2022, Ottawa patrol officers recovered a loaded AR-15 style ‘ghost gun’ after an attempt was made to stop a vehicle. The stop resulted in a brief pursuit where the suspect discarded the weapon and another loaded handgun out the window of the vehicle. This incident remains under investigation.”

No standard database exists that catalogs firearms by serial number, Booras said. All firearms recovered by the Ottawa Police Department are entered as “seized” in the state law enforcement database (LEADS) and the nationwide database (NCIC). Such firearms are entered by serial number, make, model and ammunition caliber or capacity. Many of these firearms are ultimately returned to people who have legal interest in the firearm and are lawfully able to possess them after investigation into the particular matter is concluded.

On May 18, House Bill 4383 was signed into law making it generally unlawful for persons to possess or sell such “ghost guns.” There are, however, certain exceptions to this law that speak to persons with special federal licensing. The law also appears to allow a process for “serialization” of firearms with no serial number. Anyone with questions relating to HB4383 is encouraged to research the contents of the new law.