For years, enthusiasts have been making their own firearms, going through various sources to purchase parts that can be put together to build guns. Recently, emerging technologies, such as 3D printers, have created new avenues for hobbyists to construct self-made firearms. In California, it is not illegal to make or possess a homemade gun.
Generally, self-manufactured firearms do not have serial numbers, which has earned them the term “ghost guns.” Unfortunately, because the government cannot track and monitor these weapons, some individuals have found them as a way to get around the state’s restrictive firearm laws. Before a person can purchase a gun, they must pass a background check. If they have a criminal past or any other restrictions, they would not be able to buy a gun. Knowing they might fail the background check, they may seek out a private seller, as opposed to a licensed dealer, to obtain a weapon.
California’s Ghost Gun Laws
California lawmakers passed a bill that requires enthusiasts to register firearms they make at home. If a person self-manufactures a gun, they must submit an application to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to get a serial number. The DOJ will supply the applicant with a stainless steel placard that must be attached to the weapon. The gun owner must then send photos of the firearm to the agency for tracking purposes.
Although Californians are allowed to make their own guns, they cannot build any that are prohibited by law. For example, assault weapons and machine guns cannot be manufactured or sold in the state; therefore, it is illegal for a hobbyist to purchase parts or use 3D printers to make such weapons. Additionally, any firearms made at home must meet the safety standards required by the state.
Under California law, it is also illegal for a person to sell a self-manufactured firearm.
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