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Understanding Ghost Guns: History, Explanation, and Legalities

Burleson, Texas / USA - June 29 2020: Ghost gun in 9mm

For new gun owners navigating the vast landscape of firearms, understanding the terminology and the laws is crucial. One term that has gained significant attention in recent years is “ghost guns.” This article will break down what ghost guns are, their history, examples, and the current legal stance surrounding them.

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“Ghost gun” is a term used to describe firearms that aren’t serialized and aren’t registered with the government. They are often self-assembled from kits or parts available for purchase, meaning they lack the traditional purchasing and registration paper trail associated with other firearms.

The History of Ghost Guns
A closeup of AR15 lowers: Ghost Gun

The concept of creating one’s firearm isn’t new. Historically, gunsmithing was a common skill, and individuals would often produce their guns. As manufacturing evolved and regulations tightened, the production of firearms became more centralized, and regulations grew stricter. However, the rise of the internet and the ability to purchase parts online have given birth to the modern phenomenon of ghost guns.

Examples of Ghost Guns
Cartridges and revolver drum are printed in a 3D printer

80% Lower Receivers: One popular method of creating ghost guns, especially AR-15 style rifles, involves purchasing what’s known as an “80% lower receiver.” This part is, as the name suggests, only 80% finished. The purchaser then completes the remaining 20% at home.

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3D Printed Firearms: Advances in 3D printing technology have made it possible for individuals to print components of firearms, or in some cases, an entire gun.

Parts Kits: Various websites offer kits that come with almost everything needed to assemble a firearm. While they don’t include all parts, often the missing pieces are common and easily obtainable.

Understanding Ghost Gun Laws
Black Rifle Ghost Gun

Federal Laws: At the federal level, it’s legal for an individual to manufacture their firearm for personal use. However, it becomes illegal when one transfers or sells the firearm to another person. Additionally, certain weapons, such as machine guns or sawed-off shotguns, remain illegal to manufacture.

State Laws: Some states have stricter regulations than federal laws. For example, California requires individuals who manufacture their firearm to apply for a serial number from the state.

Proposed Regulations: Given the rise of ghost guns, there are proposed laws at both the federal and state levels aiming to restrict or regulate the sale of gun parts and kits.

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Implications for New Gun Owners
U.S. Firearms CO. local gun shop

If you’re considering building your firearm, it’s crucial to:

Understand Your State’s Laws: Before purchasing parts or kits, ensure you’re aware of your state’s regulations concerning ghost guns.

Know the Risks: While assembling a firearm might sound appealing, it comes with risks, especially if you’re unfamiliar with gun mechanics.

Prioritize Safety: As always, if you choose to go this route, make safety a priority. Ensure you have the proper tools and knowledge, or seek guidance from someone experienced.

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Ghost guns have become a hot topic in the realm of firearms and gun control. While they offer an avenue for personal manufacturing and a way to bypass some regulations, they come with significant responsibilities and potential legal implications. Always stay informed and prioritize safety and legality in all firearm endeavors.

Remember, this a general overview, it’s essential to consult current and accurate sources or legal experts to ensure you’re providing the most up-to-date information, especially given the changing nature of laws and regulations. Sites like The Texas State Law Library or your state’s .gov site can give you all up to date information. Stay in the know with all new changes and updates and keep your family and friends informed!

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Firearms

Protect Your Second Amendment Rights: Oppose SB 1160 and SB 1253 in California

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On Tuesday, April 2nd at 8:30am, the California Senate Public Safety Committee is slated to review two concerning bills that threaten the rights of firearm owners across the Golden State. As staunch advocates for the Second Amendment, it’s imperative for NRA Members and supporters of gun rights to take action. Senate Bill 1160 and Senate Bill 1253 pose significant threats, and it’s crucial to voice opposition to these proposed measures.

Senate Bill 1160: Annual Firearm Registration Requirement

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Senate Bill 1160 represents a direct assault on the rights of law-abiding gun owners in California. This bill seeks to mandate an annual re-registration process for all firearms with the Department of Justice. If enacted, firearm owners would be compelled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles each year and pay undisclosed fees to maintain their registration status.

This onerous requirement not only burdens responsible gun owners with unnecessary red tape but also sets a dangerous precedent for government overreach into the fundamental rights protected by the Second Amendment. Under SB 1160, failure to comply with the annual registration mandate could result in severe penalties, including fines of up to $1000 and the potential confiscation of unregistered firearms.

Upholding Second Amendment Freedoms: Take Action Against SB 1160

It’s imperative for Second Amendment supporters to stand united against Senate Bill 1160. This legislation threatens the core principles of individual liberty and firearm ownership rights. We urge all concerned citizens to contact members of the Senate Public Safety Committee and vehemently oppose SB 1160.

Senate Bill 1253: Restricting Firearm Possession without Firearm Safety Card

Another concerning proposal slated for review is Senate Bill 1253, which seeks to further restrict firearm ownership rights in California. Under existing law, individuals are required to obtain a Firearm Safety Card to purchase or receive a firearm. However, SB 1253 aims to extend this requirement to possession, effectively prohibiting law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms without a valid Firearm Safety Card.

This additional hurdle not only imposes unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners but also fails to address the root causes of crime and violence. Criminals, by definition, do not adhere to firearm laws, rendering such measures ineffective at curbing illicit gun activities. Instead, SB 1253 unfairly penalizes law-abiding citizens and undermines their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Defending Second Amendment Liberties: Oppose SB 1253

Senate Bill 1253 represents yet another attempt to erode the Second Amendment freedoms of Californians. By imposing stringent requirements for firearm possession, this bill unfairly targets responsible gun owners while doing little to enhance public safety. It’s essential for proponents of gun rights to take a stand against SB 1253 and advocate for the preservation of constitutional liberties.

Take Action: Protect Second Amendment Rights in California

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As the Senate Public Safety Committee prepares to review SB 1160 and SB 1253, it’s paramount for NRA Members and supporters of the Second Amendment to make their voices heard. Use the Take Action button below to contact committee members and urge them to oppose these egregious bills. Together, we can defend our cherished freedoms and safeguard the right to keep and bear arms in California.

Do you live in California? What do you do to oppose greater encroachment on your right to keep and bear arms? Leave your thoughts in the comments

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Firearms

The AR-15: A Versatile Platform for Every Shooter

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The AR pattern rifle, affectionately known as the “AR-15,” has become a staple in the firearms community, offering unparalleled versatility and customization options. From budget-friendly builds to high-end boutique rifles, there seems to be a configuration for every shooter’s preferences and needs. But with so many parts available, is there truly a rifle for everyone? And is there even a wrong answer to the AR question?

Diverse Builders, Diverse Builds

The AR-15 has evolved beyond just a firearm; it’s now a sport in itself, with enthusiasts eagerly assembling rifles tailored to their specific desires. Whether someone is aiming for the cheapest build, the most boutique setup, or a specialized rifle for a particular purpose like suppressor use, the AR platform offers endless possibilities. This diversity among builders reflects the platform’s adaptability and appeal to a wide range of shooters.

Navigating Budget Builds: A Personal Journey

Recently, there’s been a surge in interest in building affordable AR-style rifles, prompting many to explore budget-friendly options. One such endeavor involved sourcing parts directly from Bear Creek Arsenal (BCA), a company with a reputation for offering budget-friendly components. Despite initial reservations due to past controversies and quality concerns, the experience of assembling a rifle from BCA parts proved surprisingly positive.

Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Upon receiving the parts from BCA, there was a mix of anticipation and skepticism. However, upon inspection, there was a notable nod of approval for the quality of finish work, packaging, and overall presentation. While some parts lacked robust packaging, none arrived damaged, showcasing BCA’s attention to detail. Despite some vagueness regarding product specs, BCA’s use of 4150 CM-V and 416 Stainless barrels instilled confidence in the build.

Assembly Practices: Attention to Detail

Building the lower receiver proved relatively straightforward, but attention to detail was paramount. Proper torqueing of the castle nut, staking the end plate, and meticulous lubrication ensured adherence to factory specifications and optimal performance. The importance of using proper tools, lubricants, and assembly techniques cannot be overstated, particularly for critical components like the trigger and gas system.

Navigating Upper Receiver Assembly

While assembling the lower receiver was relatively straightforward, the upper receiver presented more complexity and significance. Attention to detail during barrel installation, gas system alignment, and muzzle device timing were crucial for ensuring accuracy, reliability, and safety. Thermal fitting techniques and proper torqueing procedures were employed to optimize barrel-to-receiver fit and gas system performance.

Range Testing and Final Thoughts

After meticulous assembly and function testing, the rifle was taken to the range for reliability and accuracy testing. Using a variety of ammunition types and optics configurations, the rifle performed admirably, showcasing respectable accuracy and reliability. While there were minor issues such as an over-gassed barrel, these were addressed with aftermarket solutions. Overall, Bear Creek Arsenal’s components proved to offer excellent value for budget-conscious builders, demonstrating that affordability doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality.

The AR-15 is a highly adaptable platform allowing builds for a wide array of preferences for all kinds of shooters. Whether building a budget-friendly rifle or investing in high-end components, the AR platform offers endless customization possibilities. While each builder may have their own priorities and preferences, the beauty of the AR-15 lies in its ability to accommodate them all, ensuring that there truly is a rifle for every shooter.

Do you own an AR-15? Have you ever built one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Firearms

Mack W. Gwinn Jr.: A Tribute to a Firearms Pioneer

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Mack W. Gwinn Jr., a visionary in the firearms industry, passed away on March 11, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and dedication to his craft. Born in Florida, Gwinn’s journey into the world of firearms began with his service in the U.S. Army Special Forces, where he earned several Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star during seven deployments to Vietnam.

From Military Service to Firearms Innovation

Following his military service, Gwinn transitioned into the firearms industry, where he made significant contributions. One of his notable achievements was acquiring the rights to the Colt IMP-221, a stockless, gas-operated bullpup pistol initially developed for aircrew survival in the U.S. Air Force. Redesigning the concept to accept the 5.56 NATO caliber and standard AR magazines, Gwinn founded Gwinn Arms and introduced the Bushmaster Arm Pistol in the early 1970s.

Pioneering Personal Defense Weapons

The Bushmaster Arm Pistol, an innovative pistol-sized firearm utilizing an intermediate round, predated the concept of personal defense weapons (PDWs) by a generation. Although not a commercial blockbuster, the Arm Pistol laid the foundation for Bushmaster Firearms and left an indelible mark on the industry.

Legacy of Innovation

Beyond the Bushmaster Arm Pistol, Gwinn’s influence extended to various other firearms projects and inventions. He held patents for extended capacity magazines and developed concepts for firearms applications ranging from target pistols to recoil reduction systems. His ingenuity and curiosity led him to explore diverse projects, including vehicle design and accessory development.

Remembering a Trailblazer

Mack W. Gwinn Jr.’s passing marks the end of an era in the firearms community. His contributions to the industry will be remembered for years to come, serving as inspiration for future generations of innovators. In honoring his memory, donations can be made to the Maine Veterans Project, and condolences may be expressed to his family at BrookingsSmith.

Mack W. Gwinn Jr. leaves behind a legacy of excellence, marked by his unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of firearms design and technology. His impact on the industry will continue to resonate, ensuring his place among the pantheon of firearms pioneers.

Do you know Mack W. Gwinn Jr? How about his famous firearms? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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