What are ghost guns and why are states trying to ban the sale of them? - Metro US

What are ghost guns and why are states trying to ban the sale of them?

An example of a 3-D-printed handgun. Credit: Getty Images

The parts and instructions to build ghost guns or 3-D printed firearms are available online and can be downloaded by people who have access to a 3-D printer.

President Trump said he plans to “look into” 3-D printed firearms that can be built using instructions found online.

“I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

The website Defense Distributed has been given the green light to publish designs, parts and instructions for 3-D printed firearms. At least nine states have already filed lawsuits to block the sale of blueprints of 3-D printed firearms, saying they are a threat to national security and public safety. Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Washington state have all announced the lawsuit against the State Department.

New York Senator Charles Schumer took to Twitter to respond to criticize the Trump administration for allowing the sale of ghost guns. 

“Your administration approved this, he tweeted. “What kind of incompetence and dangerous governing is this? And to check with the NRA? Holy moly.” 

The plastic, 3-D guns are untraceable and are very difficult to detect with metal detectors and have become a growing concern to gun control groups and politicians in favor of stronger gun control regulations.

What are ghost guns?

You may have heard 3-D printed firearms referred to as ghost guns and we’ll assure you it has nothing to do with weapons capable of killing spirits.

Ghost guns are firearms that do not have serial numbers on them. These guns are made for personal use, do not need to be registered and can be made at home.

Commercial gun manufacturers must apply serial numbers to all firearms that are produced to comply with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulations. If you’re building a gun using downloadable instructions and a 3-D printer, those firearms are considered as ghost guns because they aren’t regulated and do not need to be registered in the state you’re in.

According to the ATF, a license is not required to build a firearm for personal use, but if you have plans on selling or distributing the firearm, a license is needed.

Untraceable ghost guns sold online

The company Defense Distributed sells parts and design files to legally manufacture rifles and pistols without serial numbers. According to the website these ghost guns can be built in “the comfort and privacy of home” by following downloadable instructions and purchasing additional tools, parts and the Ghost Gunner mill kit.

ghost guns website sells parts to build 3-d printed firearms

Is it legal to build your own gun?

If your state allows you to possess firearms, it is legal to make your own for personal use. However, it is illegal to manufacture fully-automatic firearms without a Federal license. Because of technology and the ability to use advanced 3-D printers to manufacture gun parts to assemble fully-functional firearms, it will become easier for someone to build a firearm or ghost gun at home by simply downloading instructions from a website.

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