When it comes to weapons in America, the terminology changes from time to time. One new term that has entered the lexicon refers to the “ghost guns.”
The weapons have a unique history and also fall into a special category when it comes to law enforcement.
The definition of a ghost gun
According to a National Public Radio report, so-called ghost guns refer to privately assembled and untraceable firearms. Parties assemble these guns from “buy build shoot” kits, from a collection of parts or from 3D printing technology. This results in a firearm that does not have a serial number and eludes the ability of authorities to trace.
Anyone can buy these guns if they know a source. The ghost guns do not require a background check, making them an attractive opportunity for people who can not legally buy a gun due to young age or a past criminal conviction.
Reports indicate that more and more of these types of weapons become available every year. Law enforcement recovered about 20,000 of these weapons in criminal investigations in 2021, a ten-fold increase from five years earlier.
The regulation of ghost guns
A recent rule submitted to the Federal Register by the Department of Justice seeks to slow down the spread of these guns. While the new rule does not ban these guns or impose new penalties, it does try to bring these weapons under the same rules as traditional guns.
The rule requires a licensed manufacturer to make the kits for assembly. Serial numbers must appear on the gun’s kit frame or the receiver. Also, retailers will see increased demands for record-keeping on any ghost guns that come into their stores. Individuals who buy or possess these weapons should understand all applicable laws.