Ghost guns have recently been in the news in a small way, as the ATF raided Polymer 80, a manufacturer of polymer 80% lowers. This action may be in conjunction with action taken by the Biden transition team, which allegedly informed the ATF that two of their gun control priorities were cracking down on 80% lowers and pistol braces.
The frame of a firearm is the part that’s actually considered to be the “gun.” As such, it’s the only part to receive a serial number. In the case of some firearms, like the AR-15, it’s actually the lower part of the receiver, as that is the frame. Since these parts are sold only 80% complete, the ATF has not considered them to be guns, so they could be sold without a serial number.
This gets into a bit of a sticky are of law, as there is no law against these items. Rather, they are controlled by regulations written by ATF. Up until now, 80% lowers have not been considered to be “guns” and pistol braces were considered to not turn a pistol into a rifle. But it appears we may be looking at the potential for a change in interpretation, something that president-elect Biden doesn’t need legislation to accomplish.
Along with his other proposed initiatives on gun control, along with control of both houses of Congress, it looks like we could be facing a time of attack on the Second Amendment. With that potential out there, it only makes sense to build a ghost gun now, if you haven’t already done so. If you don’t the window of opportunity might close.
There are several different options available now for building a gun from an 80% lower or frame. These include the AR-15 and AK-47 rifles, along with a few others. It also includes the venerable .45 caliber 1911 and the Glock pistol frame. Others exist too; but those are the most popular.
Anyone with decent do-it-yourself skills and a drill press can build a ghost gun, with no serial number and no record of its existence, starting from an 80 lower or frame. The drill press is necessary for accurately drilling the holes, as well as cutting out some of the casting. I’d also recommend buying a X-Y vice for the drill press, as that will allow precise positioning of the casting, especially for the times when a straight line cut is needed.
Basically the process building any of these firearms requires removing part of the material from the casting. For the AR-15 lower, this means machining out the trigger well in the casting, as well as the slot for the trigger and drilling a few holes. While it can be done without the drill press and X-Y table, it can’t be done anywhere near as accurately. That could affect performance. For the 1911 pistol, the process includes machining the slide rails, which must be accurate and smooth for the pistol to operate correctly, without jamming.
Since the only part with a serial number is the frame or receiver, the rest of the parts can be purchased over the counter, without a problem. I’d recommend buying them at a gun show, if you can, and paying cash. That way, there’s no record of you buying them, so nobody should be able to track you down.