We explore the meaning of “ghost guns” after the Biden Administration announced they will be regulated.

On 8 April 2021, it was announced that the Biden Administration would be enforcing several executive actions to combat gun violence in the United States.

This comes in the aftermath of mass shootings in both Atlanta and Boulder in March 2021.

ghost guns meaning
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of vaccinations in the U.S. in the State Dining Room of the White House April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Ghost guns: Meaning

A ghost gun is a homemade firearm which has not yet reached a stage of manufacture meeting the definition of a firearm as defined by the Gun Control Act of 1968. 

They have the name ‘ghost gun’ as they are both self-made and un-serialised. This means that law enforcement are unable to trace the weapon when used in a crime.

The other terms by which the weapon is known include “80% receiver,” “80% finished,” “80% complete,” and “unfinished receiver.”

Are ghost guns legal?

Prior to the executive orders regulating ghost guns, they were entirely legal.

Federal law allowed an individual to create their own firearm for personal use. You were not required to register your homemade weapon or even have a gun permit.

Only those who are prohibited from owning firearms were not allowed to create or own ghost guns. New York laws also required owners of any firearm to obtain a permit and to register their gun.

What did Biden say about ghost guns?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will issue a series of proposed rules aimed at tackling gun violence. This includes restricting ghost guns, encouraging states to adopt red flag laws and tightening loopholes around particular modified pistols.

The Hill reports: “A senior administration official would not say whether the rule being announced Thursday would single-handedly or immediately reclassify ghost guns. But the official made clear the president viewed the announcement as a first step in tackling the issue of gun violence in the wake of mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo.”

Have something to tell us about this article?