You’ve probably heard the term “ghost gun” uttered on the nightly news or among chatter at least once in your life, so what are they? To put it simply, a ghost gun is an unserialized and untraceable firearm. These guns are mostly developed from “ghost gun kits,” which are usually partially built or machined receivers of firearms that haven’t been developed to the point where they would be considered a firearm. Those with access to 3D printers can easily print these receivers and use them to make untraceable ghost guns.
Are ghost guns legal?
Whether ghost guns are legal is probably the main question on everyone’s mind, and the simple answer is that yes, ghost guns are legal in most states.
Unless you’re in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington, where there are some regulations and legal scrutiny, you can legally buy a ghost gun kit and make a firearm at home. Laws change often, however, so ensure you read through the latest laws related to making and carrying ghost guns in your state. In Florida, for instance, two bills have been filed in the state House and Senate which, if passed, would restrict ghost guns in the state.
People have been making guns in the US for centuries. 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. The gun control act also required these licensed manufacturers to perform background checks on their customers, as well as keep a record of all gun sales.
However, there are some things you need to keep in mind related to making, owning, or carrying a ghost gun:
First, if you have a criminal record, or there is any other factor that prohibits you from owning a firearm, you can get into serious legal trouble if found with a ghost gun.
Second, if you can legally own and carry a firearm, you need to make sure that your ghost gun also meets the legal requirement of your state; for instance, a ghost gun shouldn’t be an SBR or a machine gun.
What happens if you get caught with a ghost gun?
Getting caught with a ghost gun isn’t as scary as some people might think, especially if you are doing it legally (in other words, 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 do require ghost guns to be serialized under law, so that is something to keep in mind.
For the most part, getting caught with a ghost gun is like getting caught with any other gun. If you can legally own it, there shouldn’t be a problem. But if you cannot legally own a gun due to being underage or having a criminal record, for example, you will be charged as if you had any other gun in your possession (and potentially tougher if your state has restrictions around ghost guns specifically).
How are ghost guns made?
These days, making a ghost gun these days is easier than in the past.
People can buy 80% receivers, which are not regulated as firearms and build them into functioning firearms. Eighty percent AR-15 receivers are the most common in the US, and are also very easy to make. 3D printers can also be used to make ghost guns at home, as there are thousands of files available online that can help people make polymer and machined pistol frames at home.
Interested in learning more about firearms and the laws related to them? Concealed Coalition offers online and in-person concealed carry training classes nationwide. Find the class nearest to you today.