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Pennsylvania Initiating New Regulations on Ghost Guns

Pennsylvania Initiating New Regulations on Ghost Guns


Governor Tom Wolf has signaled that Pennsylvania will implement a state-level version of a new Biden Administration rule designed to cut down on the proliferation of “ghost guns.”

Ghost guns are homemade firearms that do not have serial numbers, which makes them nearly impossible to trace. Also called privately made firearms (PMFs), ghost guns are often sold online as kits containing parts that the buyer assembles at home. Entirely plastic ghost guns can be 3-D printed. PMF guns have no metal parts, making them illegal under the Undetectable Firearms Act.

The federal ghost gun rule, which becomes effective in late August, will do the following:

  • Ban manufacturing of “buy build shoot” kits that are sold online or in stores with no background checks
  • Classify PMF kits as firearms under the Gun Control Act
  • Require kit manufacturers to become licensed as firearm manufacturers and place serial numbers on the kit’s frame or receiver
  • Require kit sellers to become licensed firearms dealers and to perform background checks on would-be buyers, just like must dealers do with other commercially made firearms
  • Require dealers and gunsmiths to serialize any ghost gun that they take into inventory before placing the gun up for sale

Gov. Wolf said that once the federal rule goes into effect, the Pennsylvania State Police will mirror the regulation at the state level. The combination of federal and state laws will give law enforcement and prosecutors more power to bring gun charges against those suspected of building and selling ghost guns. State prosecutors would be empowered to indict people for ghost gun-related crimes that only federal prosecutors could handle previously. This will potentially increase the number of state prosecutions as authorities try to get unserialized weapons off the streets.

After the new state and federal regulations go into effect, we will likely see more people accused of related crimes, such as conspiracy to manufacture and deal illegal firearms, manufacturing and dealing firearms without a license and possession of illegal firearms. These charges and others like them carry heavy penalties. If you are convicted, you could face years in prison and heavy fines, depending on your criminal history. You will need an attorney who is skilled in defending gun cases, preferably a lawyer with extensive federal and state court experience.

The Law Offices of David Jay Glassman is a Pennsylvania criminal defense firm led by an attorney with decades of experience handling firearms cases in state and federal courts. If you are charged with any offense related to gun control laws, call our Philadelphia office at 215-563-7100 or contact us online 24 hours a day.