Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Understanding Homemade Gun Laws State By State

Posted by Jordan Vinroe on Mar 16, 2020

People have been making their own homemade guns on United States soil since before we were even officially a country. It’s a tradition that’s deeply rooted in our constitution and history. So, is it legal to build a gun? To this day, it is still federally legal to make your own handgun, though some states have laws regulating it. When making your own gun, federal laws don’t require you to register it, pass a background check, or obtain a license, but many state laws still do. Homemade guns laws for personal use don’t require the firearms to have a serial number, which makes them untraceable. These homemade guns are also known as ‘ghost guns’ or ‘untraceable guns’.

Gun Control Act of 1968

The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) states that people who deal and sell firearms must be licensed by the Federal Government. It also states that firearms dealers must perform background checks and keep detailed records of all sales and transactions. However, this law pertains mostly to gun businesses and commercially sold guns. The GCA does not make any statements about homemade gun laws for people who want to make guns for their own personal use. Unless you are prohibited from possessing a gun, it is legal to build a gun in most states. Depending on your state’s laws, many people can purchase a widely available  gun kit to create a firearm.

Unfinished Receivers

A receiver is the main part of a gun that houses the mechanical components and projects the bullets. Finished receivers are technically complete enough to be regulated under the GCA like any other firearm. Finished receivers need to be registered. Unfinished receivers, also called partial or  80% receivers, do not need registration or a serial number. These unfinished receivers need assembled and can easily be bought online or at gun shows. With a few basic shop tools, these guns can be assembled in less than a day to create fully functional and powerful weapons. The kits can create many types of guns from handguns to semi-automatic weapons.

Untraceable

Because these ghost guns are completely unregistered and untraceable, they are extremely popular among people who value their privacy and want to own something without feeling like they are being tracked. It is becoming increasingly common for gun owners to purchase these products despite the everchanging homemade gun laws in specific states. Whether you enjoy the hobby aspect of creating your own gun, you value your privacy, or you simply want something that’s “off the record,” a homemade gun is an excellent choice.

Is it legal to build a gun? Federal homemade gun law attempts have been made to regulate the sale of gun kits and the creation of ghost guns, but they have all failed. Only a few states have their own regulations and laws on homemade guns which you can read about in the following infographic. States not listed follow the federal law on homemade guns, but may require a license or permit to purchase or carry all or some types of firearms.

STATES WITHHOMEMADEGUN LAWSThis information is accurate as of the time of posting. We will do our best to note any updates or information to these laws, but you should still check the laws in your state before purchasing or building a homemade firearm. JSD Supply does not offer legal advice and buyers are responsible for researching and staying compliant with their own local and state laws.CALIFORNIAHomemade firearms must be legal weapons in CA. For example, assault weapons and machine guns are prohibited. Homemade handguns must have certain safety and security features including a manually-operated safety device, it must meet Californias drop safety requirements, and it must be able to imprint certain identifying information on two locations on each cartridge case when fired (there are some exceptions to these rules). You must also apply for a serial number for every handmade gun. With a few exceptions, selling homemade firearms in CA is illegal. You need a permit to carry a handgun in this state.CONNECTICUTIn 2019, Governor Lamont signed a bill, Public Act 19-6, that prohibits the manufacturing of a homemade gun without first obtaining and permanently affixing a serial number provided by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. This law effectively bans creating and owning ghost guns in Connecticut. A permit is required to carry handguns.NEW JERSEYIn 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that makes it illegal to own or purchase parts to manufacture homemade, or ghost guns. The legislation also states it is illegal to distribute information on how to 3D print ghost guns. There are no exceptions to owning an unregistered and untraceable firearm in New Jersey.NEW YORK3D printed guns and undetectable guns are banned from being possessed, manufactured, transported, and sold in the state of New York. To purchase, possess, and carry a handgun, including homemade handguns, you must obtain a license. With the exception of New York City, you dont need a license to purchase or carry a shotgun with at least 18 in the barrel or a rifle with at least 16 in the barrel.1/2/2020Governor Cuomo unveiled the 18th Proposal of 2020 to ban ghost guns by requiring the purchase of the gun parts to be sold by a licensed firearms dealer. This legislation is in progress and has not yet been passed.PENNSYLVANIAHomemade firearm products are not illegal in Pennsylvania, however, Attorney General Josh Shapiro has given an official legal opinion in 2019 that interprets the state law. During a Capitol news conference, Shapiro stated,My Office is taking the initial step of clarifying through my official, legal opinion that under Pennsylvania law, 80% receivers are firearms and can be treated, regulated, and enforced as such.WASHINGTONUnder legislation passed in 2019, Washington state has declared it illegal to manufacture, own, buy, sell, transport, or possess undetectable firearms. Guns made with 3D printers are required to have at least 3.7 ounces of steel components.FEDERAL LAW ON HOMEMADE GUNSIt is federally legal for an individual to make a gun for his or her own personal use. Under The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), it is illegal for an unlicensed person to make a firearm for sale or distribution. The law requires firearms dealers to perform background checks on anyone purchasing a firearm and they must keep records of all gun sales. The act also prohibits the following people from possessing a firearm, including homemade ones: People who are under indictment for, or convicted of, any felony crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one yearFugitives from justiceUnlawful users of any controlled substanceThose declared by a court as mentally unstable or who have been committed to a mental institutionIllegal aliens or aliens who were admitted to the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visaPeople who have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed ForcesThose who have renounced their United States citizenshipPeople subject to certain types of restraining ordersThose convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violenceJSDSUPPLY.COM

Blog: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/homemade-guns-are-they-legal-must-they-be-registered.

CA: https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/attachments/press-docs/consumer-alert.pdf

CT: https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2019/06-2019/Governor-Lamont-Signs-Laws-Banning-Ghost-Guns-and-Strengthening-Firearm-Storage-in-Motor-Vehicles

NJ: https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562018/approved/20181108b.shtml

NY: https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/senate-passes-gun-safety-legislation-ban-3d-printed-guns

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-unveils-18th-proposal-2020-state-state-banning-untraceable-ghost-guns-requiring

https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/new-york/

PA: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-gov-wolf-80-receivers-are-firearms/

https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/19.12.16-Receivers-Legal-Opinion.pdf

WA: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/House%20Passed%20Legislature/1739-S.PL.pdf?q=20200303121226

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/washington/articles/2019-04-23/untraceable-gun-limits-clear-washington-legislature