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What Are Ghost Guns, and Are Ghost Guns Legal?

Ghost gun cover

You’ve probably heard the term “ghost gun” uttered on the nightly news or among chatter at least once in your life, but what are ghost guns? To put it simply, a ghost gun is an unserialized and untraceable firearm.

When asking “What are ghost guns?” it’s essential to understand that these guns are mostly developed from ghost gun kits, which typically include partially built or machined receivers of firearms that haven’t been developed to the point where they would be considered a firearm.

Additionally, those with access to 3D printers can easily print these receivers and use them to make untraceable ghost guns, further complicating the answer to “What are ghost guns?”

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The Legal Landscape of Ghost Guns

Are ghost guns legal? This is probably the main question on everyone’s mind (besides the obvious, What are ghost guns?).

The simple answer is that yes, ghost guns are currently legal in most states. However, specific regulations vary across states. In California, Colorado (new in 2024), Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington DC, and Washington, there are more stringent regulations and legal scrutiny surrounding ghost guns, with some states outlawing them outright.

As of now, you can legally buy a ghost gun kit and make a firearm at home in states without these regulations. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to stay updated with the latest laws related to making and carrying ghost guns in your state, as they change often. For example, Florida is currently considering bills that could restrict ghost guns.

The history of firearm manufacturing in the US is long and complex. It was only after the passing of The Gun Control Act of 1968 that those who made guns for sale or distribution were required to have a firearm manufacturing license, and this legislation brought about significant changes, including mandatory background checks and record-keeping of gun sales.

What are ghost guns?

Key Considerations When Dealing with Ghost Guns

When delving deeper into “what are ghost guns,” there are crucial aspects to remember about making, owning, or carrying a ghost gun:

If you have a criminal record or any other factor prohibiting you from owning a firearm, possessing a ghost gun can lead to serious legal consequences.

If you are legally eligible to own and carry a firearm, your ghost gun must also meet the legal requirements of your state. For instance, a ghost gun shouldn’t be classified as an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) or a machine gun.

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Implications of Possessing a Ghost Gun

Getting caught with a ghost gun isn’t necessarily alarming if you are doing it legally, meaning if you can legally own a firearm in your state and the ghost gun in your possession is legal. Some states, like California and Connecticut, require ghost guns to be serialized under law. 

Generally, getting caught with a ghost gun is akin to getting caught with any other gun: if you can legally own it, there should not be a problem. However, illegal possession due to factors like age or a criminal record could lead to charges, potentially more severe in states with specific restrictions on ghost guns.

Manufacturing Ghost Guns

Making a ghost gun these days is easier than ever. People can purchase 80% receivers, which are not regulated as firearms, and build them into functioning firearms. Eighty percent AR-15 receivers are common in the US and are relatively simple to make. Additionally, 3D printers enable the production of ghost guns at home, with thousands of online files available for creating polymer and machined pistol frames.

If You Were Asking “What Are Ghost Guns?” Now You Know

To further explore questions like “what are ghost guns” and learn more about firearms and their regulations, take advantage of our comprehensive online and in-person concealed carry training classes nationwide. Find the class nearest to you today (or online, if your state allows online training) and deepen your understanding of firearms and their responsible use.

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