SAN LUIS OBISPO – On October 3, 2022, Special Agents from the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms served a search warrant at a San Luis Obispo residence and found:
- 16 unregistered assault weapons,
- five unserialized ghost gun AK-style machine guns,
- 45 AK-style unserialized ghost gun machine gun kits with several stamped “Made in Russia,”
- two silencers,
- one unregistered .50 caliber BMG rifle,
- 420 large-capacity magazines,
- and approximately 150 rounds of ammunition.
All of this was seized by special agents and a suspect, accused of using cut-up machine gun parts ordered from Russia to create illegal ghost guns at his residence was arrested. The suspect faces multiple felony firearm charges.
“Firearms built at home by individuals who have not passed a background check and have not had their guns properly serialized leave law enforcement in the dark and endanger our communities,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “We cannot stand idly by as children and families keep losing their lives to more tragedies caused by ghost guns. My office will continue to work actively every single day to end this gun violence epidemic and keep Californians safe.”
“California Department of Justice special agents are in harm’s way when they serve search warrants at locations suspected of having illegal firearms. We thank them for the dangerous work they do to protect our families, neighbors and communities,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.
California law mandates that anyone who possesses, manufactures, or assembles lawful firearms in the state apply to the DOJ for a unique serial number for each of their self-made firearms.
The suspect was arrested on the charges of possession of a silencer, possession of a machine gun, importing large capacity magazines, possession of a .50 BMG Rifle, possession of an assault weapon, and manufacture of an assault weapon. DOJ is prosecuting the case.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint, once filed, contains charges that must be proven in a court of law. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.
According to the California DOJ, ghost gun kits, which commonly contain various parts of a firearm and the instructions or tools to assemble them, can be sold by unlicensed sellers and later made into untraceable firearms at home in less than 30 minutes.
Law enforcement agencies throughout California have expressed their concern about the growing trend of unregistered and untraceable ghost guns. The number of illegal ghost guns seized by law enforcement agencies throughout California has continued to rise drastically year after year. In 2015, law enforcement agencies in California seized a total of 26 ghost guns. By 2021, that number has increased to 12,388.
California DOJ reported a nearly 44% increase in ghost guns seized as part of DOJ’s efforts to remove guns from prohibited persons in the Armed and Prohibited Persons System Database.