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What is a Ghost Gun / Polymer 80 / 80% Gun?

A “ghost gun” is a self-made firearm that is not registered and has no serial number, making it extremely difficult to trace. These self-made firearms are also known as polymer 80 guns or 80% guns, and are guns that are purchased in two parts and assembled by the owner. These parts are not considered firearms individually, which means they can be purchased without any regulation and delivered as easily as a package from Amazon. The name “80%” comes from the lower half, which is an 80% receiver, and is combined with an upper receiver to become a functioning firearm. Before assembly, the firearm must be registered in California and receive a serial number.

Manufacturers of these guns are under heavy scrutiny because of the prevalence of these guns among criminals. It is extremely easy, and extremely illegal, to purchase one of these kits, assemble a firearm, and simply not register the weapon. This is an incredible opportunity for those who do not want their firearm to be traced. Los Angeles currently has a lawsuit against these manufacturers for not requiring enough proof before a kit is sold. The Polymer 80 website, for example, only requires the buyer to check a box certifying that they are of age and eligible to own a firearm.

Are Polymer 80 Guns Legal in California?

Polymer 80 guns are legal in California as long as they are registered with the DOJ and have a unique serial number. This law went into effect in 2018, so those who owned these guns before 2018 were required to get serial numbers before January 1st, 2019. It is still legal to buy an 80% lower and assemble your own firearm, but you must now apply for a serial number before assembling the gun.

When Does a Self-Assembled Gun Become a Firearm?

When buying a firearm kit, the pieces of the kit are not considered weapons by California law. These pieces of metal become a firearm when holes or slots are drilled to house a firing mechanism. The exact wording from the Code of Federal Regulations is: “that part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.” Until this part is drilled, the piece is not yet a firearm.

What Makes a Polymer 80 Gun Illegal?

There are several conditions to owning a self-assembled firearm or any firearm. These include:

  • The owner of the firearm must legally be allowed to own a firearm in California.
  • Felons and other individuals are disqualified from owning these and all other
  • firearms.
  • The firearm itself must follow California guidelines such as magazine restrictions
  • The gun must have a DOJ-assigned serial number
  • Self-assembled guns cannot be sold or have their ownership transferred, so the
  • gun must be owned solely by the person who applies for the serial number.

If you have been accused of possessing or using a gun like this, you should immediately contact the Kroger Law Group for a free consultation. William Kroger has been defending cases like these for over 20 years, so experience is on your side. Don’t hesitate to call 323-655-5700 to widen your options and put yourself in the hands of experts.

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