Undetectable Firearms
or So-Called Ghost Guns

By NSSF. Feb 28, 2022

Despite the sensational headlines about cases of "undetectable" firearms, all firearms are heavily regulated under current federal law, regardless of how they are manufactured.

The 1968 'Gun Control' Act, the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act and other federal laws all govern firearms produced by a 3D printing process or any other process, just as they apply to conventional manufacturing processes using machine tools.

What does it mean for a firearm to be "undetectable?" Some headlines suggest that 3D printed firearms are undetectable, as they are primarily made of polymer materials, not metal. Others warn about scary-sounding "ghost guns" that cannot be traced by law enforcement due to a lack of a serial number.

There has been a lot of media attention recently regarding so-called "Ghost Guns." It is important to note that this term is one created by antigun groups and the homemade firearms to which they are referring don't present a public safety problem. This video delves into some of the common misconceptions regarding these firearms.


Setting aside the fact that 3D printing is a high cost, limited production technology that does not present a public safety risk, it is already illegal under the federal Undetectable Firearms Act to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm. Even firearms produced with 3D printing technology are required to include a component made of metal, and hence detectable by metal detectors and x-ray machines. In addition, ammunition cartridges are made with metal components that are detectable. Of course, even without metal components, current Transportation Security Agency (TSA) screening machines will detect an object, regardless of its composition.


Americans have always had the ability to legally make firearms on their own and some choose to do so as a hobby. It has not created a wave of "ghost guns." It has allowed individuals who are passionate about building their own firearms to assemble them in their homes. This is the exception, not the rule. The overwhelming majority of firearms are bought through commercial sales, produced by manufacturers and sold by retailers that are federally licensed and regulated. .....


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