Ghost Guns

Ghost Guns

Ghost guns are not your favorite firearms dressed up to go trick or treating.  The term “Ghost Gun” refers to a gun that is manufactured by an individual. They are usually made at home. Ghost Guns do not have a serial number.  Furthermore, even in states that have mandatory gun registration, ghost guns are not required to be registered.  (Florida does not have a gun registration requirement).   

How are Ghost Guns Made?

There are two common ways to manufacture ghost guns.  Anyone can go online and download a blueprint for a ghost gun and create the gun with their 3D printer.  3D printed guns are illegal under the Undetectable Firearms Act 18 U.S.C. §922(p). A 3D printed gun must have a metal plate inserted into the body to be legal. This plate will allow it be detected by a metal detector.  Otherwise it will be illegal.  If you do not own a 3D printer, a ghost gun can be created by using an unfinished receiver. Unfinished receivers can easily be purchased online or in stores.

What is a Receiver?

A receiver is the part of the firearm that houses various key action features that allow a firearm to discharge. You can purchase a receiver that is either finished or unfinished. 

A finished receiver is considered a firearm under 18 U.S.C §921(a)(3), the Gun Control Act of 1968.   Under the Act, an item that is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive is a firearm.  Nothing need be done to a receiver to make the it dischargeable except adding the remaining needed gun parts such as a barrel, stock, trigger, etc.  A finished receiver has a serial number already assigned to it prior to sale by an FFL dealer. Furthermore, because a finished receiver is considered a firearm, anyone wishing to purchase one from an FFL must undergo the required background check to purchase a firearm. 

Unfinished Receivers are used to make Ghost Guns.

An unfinished receiver is commonly referred to as an “80% receiver”. It requires additional drilling to be performed on it before it can readily be converted to discharge a projectile. It is not classified as a “firearm” under the Gun Control Act of 1968. Therefore, a serial number or registration is not required.  This applies even in states that require guns to be registered. For frequently asked questions regarding unfinished receiver, visit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive website.

 Ghost guns are legal to manufacture and posses under both federal and Florida State law as long as the gun would not be classified as a National Firearm Act (NFA), item.  Be warned however, Ghost Guns are illegal in some states.  If you are outside of Florida, please check your state laws.


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