Skip to main content

Ghost Guns: Why Antis Want Them Banned

Under federal law, a license is not required to make a firearm for your personal use.

Ghost Guns: Why Antis Want Them Banned

Defense Distributed (DD) is taking preorders on the new larger-and-faster Ghost Gunner 3. $2,100

If anti-­gunners have a talent, it is devising clever names for what they wish to ban. The terms become buzz words in the media in an attempt to scare the general public into agreeing that such guns should be removed from the market. Consider “assault weapons,” “cop-­killer bullets” and “Saturday Night Specials,” for example. Each of these targeted categories resulted in bans under state or federal law. The latest term is “ghost guns.” Also referred to as “untraceable firearms,” states have already made moves to ban homemade firearms.

Federal law allows individuals who can otherwise legally possess firearms to manufacture guns for their own individual use. In recent years, we have seen the widespread availability of so-­called “80 percent” receivers. These are partially machined components that allow endusers the opportunity to complete the process of manufacturing their own firearms. Despite being characterized by The Trace as requiring “a little elbow grease,” machining the final 20 percent of a firearm receiver is more difficult than it sounds and requires specialized equipment and fixtures to complete. Like most of you, I am a believer in law and order. If an individual is finishing receivers for profit without a license, they are already breaking the law.

Several states including California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Washington have passed laws regulating or banning the practice of making one’s own firearm. Bills have been filed in both houses of the U.S. Congress to do the same. The gun control section on former Vice President Joe Biden’s website lists “stopping ghost guns” as a priority of his administration, if he is elected. There is also legislation pending that would prohibit the sale of the CNC and milling machines used to finish 80 percent receivers such as the Ghost Gunner series from Defense Distributed ($2,100, ghostgunner.net). That’s right, now the government aims to ban the tools that could be used to make a gun. The state of New Jersey has even filed lawsuits against companies marketing 80 percent receivers.

Anti-­gun advocates will tell you that ghost guns have been used in numerous high-­profile crimes, including a handful of cases in California. When I investigated those cases, though, media reports suggested that the receivers may have been obtained “illegally,” meaning they were not made by the shooters. By obtaining these receivers, these criminals were already breaking the law. Even if they made them at home, they still violated the Gun Control Act of 1968 if they weren’t otherwise qualified to buy a gun.


If prohibited possessors are using this method to circumvent the law, those persons should be prosecuted. Period. That doesn’t seem to be a priority of those who are anti-­gun, as evidenced by the precipitous drop in federal gun prosecutions during the Obama Administration. To restate the record, prosecutions rose 23 percent after President Trump took office and were at a 20-­year high in 2019.


The real issue is fear. The antis hate the idea of you owning a firearm that they don’t know about and can’t regulate. What they don’t know about, they cannot confiscate. If you think that no administration in the U.S. would ever come for your guns, you’re being naïve.

I don’t own an unserialized firearm, but I support the right of law-­abiding citizens to build and possess them. If they commit a crime with them, jail time is deserved. If not, the government should leave these Americans and their property well enough alone.

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Which Sight Is Faster - XS Sight Test

Which Sight Is Faster - XS Sight Test

Jeremy Stafford traveled to Gunsite Academy to compare the speed of stock sights against express, three-dot, suppressor-height and red dot sights.

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick Sweeney compare the visibility of red and green lasers in outdoor, sunny conditions.

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

At the heart of the rifle is the Model 2020 action which wish designed and built with very tight tolerances thanks to Springfield's technology-driven manufacturing capabilities The stainless steel action features an integral recoil lug, and pairs with a fluted bolt employing dual cocking cams and an enhanced extractor for high pressure loads. The blueprinted and precisely machined action allows Springfield to offer the Model 2020 with .75" MOA accuracy guarantee. Despite being a production rifle, the Model 2020 should rival more expensive custom builds.

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

In this segment of "Guns & Ammo TV," Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr head to the range to wring out the Umarex Air Ruger 10/22.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new RMRcc, they plan on dominating the concealed carry market as well.Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry Optics

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry

Jeremy Stafford - October 01, 2020

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new...

Rugged and affordable, SIONYX color night vision cameras are a must-have for every hunter, shooter, and outdoor enthusiast. SIONYX Aurora Night Vision Cameras Review Optics

SIONYX Aurora Night Vision Cameras Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - December 23, 2020

Rugged and affordable, SIONYX color night vision cameras are a must-have for every hunter,...

Where has all of the ammo gone?2020 Ammo Shortage Industry

2020 Ammo Shortage

Keith Wood - December 23, 2020

Where has all of the ammo gone?

Under federal law, a license is not required to make a firearm for your personal use.Ghost Guns: Why Antis Want Them Banned 2nd Amendment

Ghost Guns: Why Antis Want Them Banned

Keith Wood - December 10, 2020

Under federal law, a license is not required to make a firearm for your personal use.

See More Trending Articles

More 2nd Amendment

On Friday, August 14, 2020, the a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit released its opinion in Duncan vs. Becerra, a case that challenged the California ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.California Magazine Ban Update 2nd Amendment

California Magazine Ban Update

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 18, 2020

On Friday, August 14, 2020, the a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals...

With the 2020 Presidential Election in the news, and the gun control versus gun rights issue on the minds of both sides of the aisle, the United States' firearm laws are again being compared to the rest of the world. How do America's firearms laws compare to those throughout the rest of the world? Read on.International Gun Laws vs. U.S. 2nd Amendment

International Gun Laws vs. U.S.

Guns & Ammo Staff - June 10, 2020

With the 2020 Presidential Election in the news, and the gun control versus gun rights issue...

Virginia has always been an extremely friendly environment for gun owners since Republicans took control of the Assembly more than 20 years ago, but things have changed.Gun Control in Virginia 2nd Amendment

Gun Control in Virginia

Keith Wood - July 17, 2020

Virginia has always been an extremely friendly environment for gun owners since Republicans...

The Big Three social-media platforms are the most influential information sources — ever, and that unprecedented influence is being wielded against the 2nd Amendment and all of us.Big Tech Attacks the 2nd Amendment 2nd Amendment

Big Tech Attacks the 2nd Amendment

Keith Wood - December 09, 2020

The Big Three social-media platforms are the most influential information sources — ever, and...

See More 2nd Amendment

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now