Officials are worried that these “ghost guns” lack serial numbers, making them untraceable by law enforcement, and that plastic weapons may be impervious to metal detectors in airports. DIY firearms may also render existing gun regulations virtually moot. People who might normally be prevented from legally owning a gun, such as convicted felons or the mentally ill, could skirt such restrictions by printing them at home.
A ghost gun is a firearm without serial numbers. The term is used by gun control advocates, gun rights advocates, law enforcement, and some in the firearm industry.1234 By making the gun themselves, owners may legally bypass background checks and registration regulations.1 Some ghost guns become part of the illicit firearms trade.5 Under U.S. federal law, the creation and possession of ghost guns is permitted, but a license is required to manufacture firearms for sale or distribution.
When Kevin Neal went on a deadly shooting rampage last week in California, he was armed with at least two semi-automatic rifles, known as "ghost guns," that he didn't buy in a store or from a gun dealer, authorities say.
"These arms are manufactured illegally, we believe, by him at his home," said Tehama County assistant sheriff Phil Johnston, during a news conference on Nov. 15.
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Given Neal's criminal background, it was clearly illegal for him to possess these guns once they had been assembled.