Citation(s) from the Gun Policy News media archive

What Makes a Gun a Ghost Gun?

The Trace

5 December 2019

Relevant contents

The term "ghost gun" is used by media, police, and sometimes the firearms industry to describe homemade weapons devoid of serial numbers or other identifying markings that enable them to be tracked to their maker, seller, or original owner.

For years, law enforcement authorities referred to these weapons as simply "homemade" guns or "kit" guns. "Ghost gun" is a relatively new term…

Are ghost guns legal?

Yes. In fact, America has a long tradition of unregulated gunmaking.

It was only in 1968, with the passage of the Gun Control Act, that gunmakers were required to obtain a license from the federal government, and stamp serial numbers on the weapons they produce.

But the Gun Control Act provided an exemption for people who make their own firearms for personal use. And the Brady Gun Violence Prevention Act, which established the federal background check system in 1993, included a similar allowance for homemade weapons. In other words, it's perfectly legal for Americans to build their own firearms.

ID: N745

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