Op-Ed: What Exactly Is a “Ghost Gun”? Are They Legal or Illegal?

Photo Credit: Newsweek

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer nor do I claim to be. I’m simply presenting the legal definitions as they pertain to the State of Michigan in this post for you to research on your own and also recommend that you reach out to a credible attorney if you need more information.

According to US LawShield, by definition, a “ghost gun” is simply “a firearm that is assembled using various parts without serial numbers or any identifying marks.” Usually, they are manufactured through the use of 3D printers or by purchasing an unfinished receiver. This is nothing new as Americans have been building their own firearms since at least the frontier days.

Under both Michigan and federal laws (even though there are some differences between the two), “as long as you’re not a licensed dealer and don’t have the intention of selling or gifting the firearm that you’re manufacturing, you can build and use it for personal use” [Michigan Gun Law]. With that being said, there are, however, a few restrictions to keep in mind prior to manufacturing your firearm.

First, a tax stamp is required for any NFA item (ex: short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, machine gun) [MCL § 750.222]. Personally, I don’t support the NFA or taxing firearms, ammunition and so on as it’s a violation of our Second Amendment right, which comes from God and not government. Unfortunately, this is the law that’s currently on the books.

Second, you can’t remove any identifying preexisting marks (i.e. serial numbers) [MCL § 750.230]. Now, there’s a difference between owning a firearm that never had preexisting marks in the first place (legal) vs. altering, removing or obliterating existing serial numbers (illegal).

Lastly, under Michigan law, pistols – even if you manufacture the gun – must be registered with the state unless there is an applicable exception under the state law [MCL § 28.422]. I also find firearm registration to be unconstitutional and, as history has shown, leads to firearm confiscation and genocide by the government once the population has been disarmed [Gun Control].

Michael Malice w/ Cody Wilson, gun rights activist and founder of Defense Distributed

I hope that I’ve explained the topic well enough for you to understand and recommend that you research the laws on your own – whether you reside in Michigan or another state – and consult with an attorney if you have any additional questions.

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