Skip to main content
Denver city council votes to ban ghost guns
Email share
Denver now bans "ghost guns," privately-made firearms with no serial numbers or markings
Photo: Tara Pixley for The Trace

DENVER — The city of Denver now bans "ghost guns," which are privately-made firearms with no serial numbers or markings which makes them untraceable back to their maker, seller, or original owner. 

This includes prohibiting the possession, carrying (open or concealed), wearing, flourishing, use, or manufacturing of non-serialized firearms (including any non-serialized frame or receiver).

If someone is found with a ghost gun, they would face immediate forfeiture of the weapon, a fine of up to $999, and up to 30 days in jail. 

“There is no single solution to preventing gun violence in our communities, but this ordinance is an important step toward keeping these unregistered and untraceable firearms off our streets and out of the hands of those banned from gun ownership,” said Denver city attorney Kristin Bronson in a press release. 

Also in the release, the City of Denver said it's finding more non-serialized firearms at crime scenes. Since November 2019, the city said it has recovered 38 ghost guns at crime scenes throughout the city, that represents about two percent of the 1,907 guns seized during that time. 

Cities across the country are experiencing an increase in the number of non-serialized firearms recovered. Between 2016 and 2020, at least 23,906 non-serialized guns were discovered by law enforcement at crime scenes throughout the country, including 325 homicides or attempted homicides, according to  data  from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. 

The ordinance aligns with rules proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Under state law, a local government may enact an ordinance prohibiting the possession of a firearm or firearm component unless expressly prohibited. 

Here are more answers for Frequently Asked Questions about this new ordinance. 

There were some celebrations after the ordinance passed Monday night including from the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.


Amanda Horvath is a multimedia producer with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at amandahorvath@rmpbs.org.

Spotlight Newsletter

Community stories from across Colorado and updates on your favorite PBS programs, in your inbox every Tuesday.

Sign up here!