Santa Barbara Police rescued a 5-year-old child who was reportedly left abandoned in the presence of unregulated firearms known as “ghost guns” on Saturday, July 23, according to police spokesperson Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale. The child’s mother was arrested shortly afterward.
Authorities received a call around 7 p.m. from a babysitter who was hired to look after the child at a residence near the 800 block of Highland Drive. After arriving at the location, the “extremely surprised” sitter — who was hired through an online website — found the child abandoned along with unrestricted access to a “ghost gun,” ammunition on the kitchen counter, and an additional “ghost gun” in the bedroom.
The untraceable and un-serialized firearms are primarily sold through standalone parts or weapons kits, or can be made by 3-D printers without any records or background check, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The mother, 46-year-old Mammoth Lakes resident Lauren Tracy, was reportedly found intoxicated by authorities at around 8:30 p.m. at a residence more than a mile away on Cliff Drive. According to Ragsdale, no other family members were in town, and the child was placed in the care of Child Protective Services.
Tracy was booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail and faces multiple felonies, including child endangerment, possession of undetectable “ghost guns,” possession of a firearm with a prior misdemeanor conviction, unlawful possession of ammunition, child neglect, and criminal storage of a firearm, with bail set at $100,000.