Authorities across the United States are in search of fresh ways to bring down rising crime rates and take more illegal guns off the street. One state is now taking a dramatic step by instituting a ban on “ghost guns.” 

On Thursday, Illinois’ Governor Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a ban on ghost guns -- firearms that lack serial numbers, don't require a background check and are easily assembled at home. By signing the bill into law, Illinois becomes the first state to directly ban these weapons that have bedeviled law enforcement nationwide.

“We are seeing these unserialized guns being built in basements by those who should never have had access to such dangerous weapons and then used to commit heinous crimes, and it must be stopped to keep Illinoisans safe," Pritzker said in a statement.

Illinois already has some of the strictest gun laws in the U.S., according to the gun control nonprofit Giffords Law Center. However, the state has always struggled to curb the flow of guns from neighboring states with looser restrictions before they fall into the hands of shooters in violence-prone cities like Chicago

Despite the increased attention being paid by federal and state authorities to ghost guns, it is unclear how effective these regulations would be in restricting weapons that are designed to easily skirt regulation. Unlike a gun acquired from a traditional firearms dealer, a ghost gun lacks any serial identification number that can trace ownership.

Beyond the difficulty in tracking a ghost gun once it is found, exisiting laws may also complicate efforts to hold sellers accountable. The parts used to assemble a ghost gun were for the longest time not considered firearms under the law. 

The Biden administration acted to address the issue with an executive order in April that clarified the assembly kits for ghost guns as firearms under the Gun Control Act. It also required any pawn shop or firearm dealer that purchases a firearm from another seller to serialize the weapon if it lacks a number. 

Illinois’ new law imitates some aspects of the federal actions, but it may only be more effective in dealing with a limited number of ghost guns already in circulation.