What Exactly is a “Ghost Gun?”

A “ghost gun” is a term for a privately assembled firearm or a homemade gun not made for commercial purpose or distribution. Ghost guns lack a commercial serial number or identifying trademark used to identify firearms made by a federally licensed firearm manufacturer.

The “scary” term “ghost gun” is used mostly in the United States by the media and some law enforcement agencies to push an anti-gun agenda. The “ghost” moniker comes from the fact that the gun is not subject to federal reporting regulations and thus is “invisible” to licensing and tracking by federal agencies. When making a homemade gun for private use, Oklahomans are not subject to federal licensing or background check regulations.

Assembling a Personal Firearm

Building firearms for personal use is nothing new. It has been legal for hundreds of years for Americans to build their own firearms. These days, it is easier than ever to build your own firearm from readily obtainable parts, without necessitating a federal manufacturing license, background check, or dealing with the federal government.

An 80% lower (also known as a receiver) is the key item needed in the assembly process. A receiver is the lower part/frame of a firearm. The receiver is typically where the serial number is found. An 80% lower has no serial number and will not operate without additional machining. The purchaser must finish the machining and purchase all the remaining parts to complete the firearm.

Federal Law

It is legal under federal law for an individual or legal entity to make and possess a homemade firearm that does not have a serial number for non-commercial purposes. However, if a firearm is assembled for sale or distribution, it requires a unique serial number. Further, the person assembling the firearm must have a federal license before they manufacture the firearm for the purpose of selling it.

State Law

Oklahoma does not regulate gun builds, materials, or accessories that could classify a gun as a ghost gun. Thus, the State of Oklahoma does not regulate any part of the gun building process.

To be clear, ghost guns are legal to own and possess in Oklahoma and are not prohibited weapons; however, there is no legal authority to carry a ghost gun under the Self-Defense Act. Although there is currently no specific case law on this subject, a prosecutor could argue that carrying a homemade pistol pursuant to the Self-Defense Act is not legally permitted. This means that if you carry a homemade gun, it might be seized as evidence and used against you in a criminal trial.

For any questions regarding ghost guns in the State of Oklahoma, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.


The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.