The term “ghost gun” has been used by politicians and the mainstream media for years as a broad label for firearms lacking a manufacturer-engraved serial number. Now the ghost gun debate and coming legal battle have been heating up due to a proposed rule change the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) listed in the Federal Register on May 21, 2021. On April 11, 2022, President Joe Biden made a statement that the new rule would be published and going into effect soon. That same day, the Attorney General signed the ATF’s final rule, 2021R-05F, “Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms.”
What is a Ghost Gun?
A “ghost gun” is an 80 percent receiver that does not have a serial number engraved on it prior to sale. The reason they are called “80 percent” receivers is because they are blocks of metal or polymer, not usable parts. In order to become a working firearm component, an 80 percent receiver has to be correctly drilled and milled. If it isn’t done correctly, it won’t be usable. It’s impossible to undo an improperly drilled hole or a bad milling job, so if someone gets it wrong, it just won’t work well, if at all. There are 80 percent lower receivers for AR-15 rifles and also receivers for polymer-framed handguns.
Similarly, when the mainstream media refers to a ghost gun by parts or as a kit, they typically mean an 80 percent receiver is being sold with a one-time-use plastic jig. The jig holds the receiver and makes it easier to hold the so-called ghost gun steady in a drill press.
Does the Biden Administration Want to Regulate Ghost Guns?
It’s no secret the Biden administration has gun control on its mind and one thing they want to do is regulate ghost guns (as they call them). The President’s campaign website contains extensive gun control proposals, making the proposed rule change less than surprising. The proposed rule change was originally leaked from the DOJ in a slightly shorter version than the document currently in the Federal Register. Regarding the initial information leak, the Daily Caller said, “The draft of the 107-page document obtained by The Reload … sketches the [ATF’s] proposed changes to federal regulation that will outlaw homemade firearms by unlicensed manufacturers.”
In the final document’s summary, the purpose of the proposed amendment was outlined as providing “new regulatory definitions of ‘firearm frame and receiver’ and ‘frame or receiver,’” among other terms. The summary paragraph also mentions “amending ATF’s definitions of ‘firearm’ and ‘gunsmith’ to clarify the meaning of those terms, and to provide definitions of terms such as ‘complete weapon,’ ‘complete muffler or silencer device,’ ‘privately made firearm,’ and ‘readily’ for purposes of clarity given advancements in firearms technology.”
On April 8, 2021, President Biden gave a speech in the White House Rose Garden expressing his concerns about ghost guns: “I want to rein in the proliferation of so-called ‘ghost guns.’ These are guns that are homemade, built from a kit that includes the directions on how to finish the firearm. You can go buy the kit. They have no serial numbers, so when they show up at a crime scene, they can’t be traced.” Biden has consistently used the term ghost guns as his preferred phrase for 80 percent receivers.
Biden also stated that “anyone from a criminal to a terrorist can buy this kit and, in as little as 30 minutes, put together a weapon.”
The idea that anyone can build a firearm—whether it’s a pistol or a long gun—from an 80 percent lower and so-called ghost gun parts in 30 minutes is misleading. It’s also inaccurate to make a blanket statement implying or outright claiming criminals and terrorists are buying those parts in staggering numbers. Statistically, criminals are far more likely to attempt to file off serial numbers or to use stolen firearms in the commission of crimes. The instances of self-built firearms—what the media calls ghost guns—being used in crimes are exceedingly rare compared to crimes committed using serialized, stolen firearms. Furthermore, the receivers the news likes to refer to as ghost guns are lumped in with homemade guns made of random parts by criminals. 80 percent receivers purchased from reputable manufacturers are not the same thing as something a criminal pieces together out of random pieces of metal, wood, and duct tape.
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What Does the News Say About “Ghost Guns”?
It seems there’s a lot of misinformation and lack of understanding in the news about so-called ghost guns. Many guns pictured or discussed by the mainstream media are not built on 80 percent receivers at all but are factory guns, meaning they have serial numbers engraved by the manufacturer. To be technically correct, there are no such firearms as ghost guns, only serialized or un-serialized guns. Understanding the nuances of federal gun laws and laws about guns in general can be challenging, and generally speaking, the mainstream media isn’t educated enough to discuss supposed ghost guns on a factual, accurate level.
Why Does the News Call Them Ghost Guns?
It’s not possible to know precisely why the news calls 80 percent receivers ghost guns. One could assume it’s because calling them ghost guns makes them sound undetectable and scary. It is an inaccurate phrase to use when talking about the parts used to build guns. Many in the mainstream media seem to see themselves as ghost guns experts, but as a general rule they’re lacking in knowledge and comprehension of what different guns really are.
What Company Makes 80 Percent Receivers?
If you’re wondering whether there is a single company ghost gun components are made by, the answer is that there are quite a few companies manufacturing what the mainstream news refers to as ghost gun kits or simply ghost guns. In reality, those ghost guns are 80 percent receivers. Those receivers make it possible for a gun owner to learn the intricacies of their firearms, which makes them easier to troubleshoot, and also gives them the pride of building their own gun. Some companies that have manufactured 80 percent receivers in the past, or do currently, include: Polymer80, 80 Percent Arms, Anderson Manufacturing, Delta Team Tactical, and JSD Supply.
Can You Still Build Firearms?
When the proposed change regarding ghost guns that was listed in the Federal Register go into effect, now that the final rule has been adopted, they will affect not only non-serialized components in the market, but also anyone interested in building a firearm. That’s because the document includes (but is not limited to) changing the definition of who would be considered a gunsmith, requiring new, more in-depth serialization of suppressors, and altering the definition of products they refer to as “armor-piercing ammunition.” It even affects recordkeeping and retention for any person with a federal firearms license (“FFL”). The proposal may have revolved around the idea of restricting so-called ghost guns, but it also involved numerous other issues that should concern all gun owners.
Under the new rule, which Biden directed the DOJ to create, 80 percent component kits without serial numbers will be illegal as they are currently being sold. The ATF will enforce those changes in various ways, including requiring those parts to be serialized and sold through FFLs, accompanied with an FBI NICS background check prior to the transfer. In fact, “privately made firearms” will be redefined in such a way as to make it time- and cost-prohibitive for the average gun owner to build their own firearms. As for sellers of receivers and frames lacking serial numbers, they will be required to obtain federal licensing and to serialize parts as outlined in the proposed law, following the specifications as to size, depth, and placement of engravings.
For the law-abiding gun owner, building an AR or pistol using an 80% lower receiver is about the pride of the end product and the knowledge and enjoyment gained by installing the myriad springs, pins, and parts with their own hands. It’s a fantastic skill to hone and one that promotes the ability to diagnose issues with firearms in general, and it makes gun owners more competent shooters and encourages respect of the platforms.
80 Percent Lowers & What YOU Can Do
The rule changes related to so-called ghost guns were listed in the Federal Register on May 21, 2021, and were open for public comment. The review period was extended beyond the standard 90 days from the date the proposal was listed on the register. On April 11, 2022, the final rule was signed and, later, published to the Federal Register. It goes into effect in late August 2022.
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Well I am a retired cop so your prison manager claim doesn’t mean much and your assumption does not coincide with the reality of all the other states that have already passed these measures. The only people hurt by this bill are those who were charging money for the tx license class and they don’t want their gravy train to end. Shall not be infringed in pretty straight forward.
Brad, my name.is Gary and I am a LTC and firearms instructor. Your assessment that the only people HB1927will hurt is those of us who teach the classes. I disagree. If you are to stupid to see that then it is good that you are retired and no longer on the force
Constitutional carry has already been proven many times by other states to reduce crime and violence, that is a statistical fact. Not an opinion, but something backed by actual numbers. Opinions are available on all topics, but fact is based on actual statistics and we should use these to formulate our decisions as that is their purpose.
I can not agree that there will be more violence or accidental discharge as the statistics on those very items do not support your statement.
Your entire left-wing rant is ridiculous. You’re living in a fantasy world. There are 20 States that have Constitutional Carry already. And NONE of your made up fears have been the reality. So maybe you need to stop letting yourself be brainwashed.
Any proof to back up your assertions?
I don’t understand the argument reference someone leaving a restaurant with a closed container that contains alcohol. Folks leave grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores with closed containers of alcohol. Um… I also thought this comment section was for the 80% lowers and the AFT and Biden?
Same ole trolls spouting the same ole disproven lies. Everything these idiots have said is false.
As a former LEO, I absolutely agree with the new constitutional carry law is a great thing. Like it’s been commented here, all these lies have been disproven in all the 20 states, hopefully more soon, that currently have constitutional carry. The exact same thing will happen in Texas…nothing.
Wow! Suzanne that’s really some doomsday thoughts. I don’t think this should be a decision from any government. The Constitution of the United States states the right to keep and bear arms. It, like so many people, does not discriminate against persons. Do some research. People have been using firearms while intoxicated for years. Most cops don’t shoot well under pressure or at moving targets. The License to Carry test which has been around for years now has a laughable shooting qualification. Crazy people will always commit mass murders, that’s what they do! Just be glad they aren’t going on the Internet to learn how to build WMDs. Which they would do if they weren’t so lazy and guns weren’t so available. Maybe they would use automobiles like are so often used in Europe. Major countries have enough Nukes to blow up the world several times. Why? Detente! If EVERYBODY has a gun, there shouldn’t be mass murders. As we have seen lately, armed citizens have stopped several attempts at mass killings. (You won’t hear this on main stream tv. The left does not want you to know that good guys with guns exist). In EVERY state that has concealed carry the crime rate has gone down. We have background checks when guns are purchased, but we also have driving test to get a driver’s license. Neither test guarantees that the person taking the test or clearing a background check will not kill somebody. Bad things happen somtimes. It’s what makes the good things so precious.
Very well said, Mr. King.
Wtf so what your saying is I need to stop blaming my spoon for making me fat and my pencil causing me to misspell shit? Great post and Let’s go Brandon!!
Very well said.
An armed society is a polite society.
How come no one ever proposes actually changing the 2nd amendment thereby allowing government to regulate personal firearms? That would be honest and legit way to handle the issue. All the other discussion and opinions about regulation are irrelevant…..
A federal arms registry is universally feared by gun owners in the usa and expressly outlawed. The simple reason is that if the government knows what people have they can easily come and collect them at will. The reason for the second ammendment is to give the citizens the means and the tools to protect themselves from tyrannical government overreach. A prime example is Hitler established gun control shortly after he rounded up 8 million jewish people who were powerless and did horrible things. Dont think it could happen here in the USA? i assure you it can. Free people must have the power and the tools to defend their freedoms. Oh and it would require a constitutional convention to change the second ammendment and that will never happen.
So then the only people having guns will be the ones that the government wants to have guns. That sort if defeats the purpose of the 2nd amendment
An armed society is a polite society.
Gun laws do not stop criminals. If they cared about the rule of law they would not be classified as criminals.
Teach children to respect the power of the tools at their disposal. As someone who has worked in the construction industry for the better part of 20 years, and a father of 4, I understand the fact that tools can be dangerous. Eliminate the curiosity and teach respect for the tool. Explain how the tool can be used for the desired result and also how the consequences of misuse can be devastating.
In closing, I would prefer the “Wild West”, as a person well versed in firearm proficiency, as opposed to being told to shoot an unarmed man that attacks me with a knife…in the knee.
The USA IS THE USA BECAUSE OF ITS CITIZENS!! Our military does not keep our enemies from invading. It’s the rednecks with guns they worry about. Just look at Afghanistan. FYI Russia tried it first.
The. Purpose of the ATF: ATF recognizes the role that firearms play in violent crimes and pursues an integrated regulatory and enforcement strategy. Investigative priorities focus on armed violent offenders and career criminals, narcotics traffickers, narco-terrorists, violent gangs, and domestic and international arms traffickers. Sections 924(c) and (e) of Title 18 of the United States Code provide mandatory and enhanced sentencing guidelines for armed career criminals and narcotics traffickers as well as other dangerous armed criminals.
ATF uses these statutes to target, investigate and recommend prosecution of these offenders to reduce the level of violent crime and to enhance public safety. ATF also strives to increase State and local awareness of available Federal prosecution under these statutes. To curb the illegal use of firearms and enforce the Federal firearms laws, ATF issues firearms licenses and conducts firearms licensee qualification and compliance inspections. In addition to aiding the enforcement of Federal requirements for gun purchases, compliance inspections of existing licensees focus on assisting law enforcement to identify and apprehend criminals who illegally purchase firearms.
The inspections also help improve the likelihood that crime gun traces will be successful, since inspectors educate licensees in proper record keeping and business practices.
NOWHER DOES IT REFERENCE THE LAWFUL CITIZENS OF THE USA, IT ONLY SPEAKS OF THE UNLAWFUL INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS SO FOUCUS ON THEM AND LEAVE US LAWFUL GUN OWNERS OR ENTHUSIASTS ALONE. IF THE ATF IS SO CONCERNED ABOUT PROTECTING THE CITIZENS WHY DO WE STILL HAVE BLM,ANTIFI,, COURUPT POLITIANS AND DRUG CARTELS STILL IN THE UNITED STATES AND RUNNING WASHINGTON DC.
Amen Russ, the ATF is going beyond its jurisdiction and is infringing on law abiding citizens! I would go as far to say the current administration is using them as a weapon against citizens. Much like the Obama administration used the IRS against conservatives during his tenure. I think we are lost as a free society if the federal control continues down it’s current path!
O’ SHUTUP! This so-call “wild west” story has been debunked since the first time this was “claimed” allow citizens access to guns and the violence’s goes up? When the exact opposite has accrued. The founders knew of exactly of what they installed!
I may be off the point in the subsection but I am in the article; now I don’t know of any other way to state that the second amendment states, “the right to carry arms as part of a regulated militia”, now I was in advanced English but I would think any layman could understand that the constitution is meant for peace officers and military I am still confused all these years later of who/how interpreted this delineation smh🙄
The 2nd Amendment NEVER mentions the BRITISH INVENTED POLICE but ARMED CITIZENS, MILITIAS AND MILITARY. Are fascist leftist like saying us veterans cannot have guns or weapons to fight you NAZI democrats?
Constitutional CARRY! YES!
The Founders knew of the documents they created, I as a citizen THE RIGHT to live thus the means and tools to protect of this I HAVE THE RIGHT not THE PRIVLIDGE unto such!
According to the Bill of Rights that some very intelligence beings installed, which tell GOVERNMENT not the PEOPLE of what or not We The People have access unto! I cannot see where it (entire document) unto a government not just define what is or not definition of weapons but unto who/whom/where/what gets access unto them or fee’s of obtaining permission unto them! This is EXACTLY the attempt, define (ATF) of what a weapon is then apply fee’s (permission along with documentation ((confiscation of the future)) of such)
Why ATF creates a BAN list then just by paying a fee thus the very same product is ok? CONFISCATION/CONTROL!!!!
The “wild wild West” did not have the problems we now have. Outlaws knew people had hand guns, rifles and shotguns. Criminals that were captured and sent to Yuma Prison, NEVER wanted to be sent back. People kill people, NOT guns! Laws restricting law abiding citizens does not prevent criminals from getting firearms and most criminal murders are with handguns, not AR 15s which are semiautomatic–not machine guns. If you disagree with this post, you are uninformed or just plain stupid.
Thank you I don’t believe all the crap people are saying.
Liberals made the same predictions of blood running in the streets and widespread shootings when Texas (and other states) passed concealed carry laws. It was BS then and it’s still BS now. Not only did it never happen, crime rates dropped. Criminals were already carrying. The only ones who start carrying because of the law change are people who obey the law.
If you think someone who would gladly kill you for the $ in your wallet would obey a law saying they can’t carry a weapon, I have some ocean-front property in Arizona for sale.
I’m an Ex-Federal Felon. My life has been adjudicated as not worth defending with a firearm. I can apply for a presidential pardon, but I’m not holding my breath. The People of the United States of America, have declared my debt to society has been paid in full. Unalienable right means God given, not conditional. God will not punish me for defending my life, only man will, because ” I can not be trusted with a firearm”. Who in their right mind is going to attempt to rob a bank, knowing every person in the bank is armed? Or who is going to walk into a McDonald’s and start shooting people, knowing everyone is armed? People today need to learn how to think for themselves and not listen to foolish logic, like “guns kill people”. When is the last time anyone seen a gun kill anything? People kill, not guns. If guns fell off the face of the earth, people will just find another way to kill. If anyone can put forward truth that proves otherwise, please educate us…. Anyone? You can’t argue truth with any amount of success. But there are fools who continue to try. God created man… Smith & Wesson made them equal.
Instead of poring large sums of money into the ATF maybe it should go to fund the police for special crimes unit. The criminals do not follow the law the president doesn’t understand this for some reason. Come November let’s let them hear our voice at the elections.
YOUR BRITISH INVENTED POLICE ARE THE CRIMINALS OF THE GOVERNMENT THEY USE TO DISARM PEOPLE. THE GESTAPO BY THE NAZIS ARE THE POLICE. ARE YOU CONSERVATIVES THAT STUPID LIKE LIBERALS. GUESS WHO ENFORCES UNCONSTITUTIONAL GUN LAWS? YOUR POLICE. GUESS WHO ROUND PEOPLE UP AND PLACE THEM ON CAMPS? IT IS YOUR POLICE. THE FOUNDERS NEVER CREATED THE POLICE BUT THE 2ND AMENDMENT. THE WEST IS RUN BY TYRRANTS, THE WORLD IS RUN BY TYRRANTS CAUSE POLITICIANS HAVE THEIR POLICE TO OPPRESS OR MURDER FOOLS LIKE YOU. A FREE PERSON HAS NO NEED FOR YOUR POLICE. WHAT IS A CRIMINAL? IN THE EYES OF GOVERNMENT TYRRANTS YOU ARE A CRIMINAL THAT IS WHY THEY PASS TYRRANICAL LAWS YOU CAN EASILY BREAK. BY THE WAY MOST LAWS VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTION AND NO HUMAN CAN KEEP TENS OF THOUSANDS OF LAWS WHICH MAKES EVERYONE A CRIMINAL. SCREW YOUR POLICE THE ARM OF POLITICIANS AND LAWYERS.