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The District of Columbia comprehensively regulates ghost guns.

With certain exceptions, the District defines a ghost gun1 as:

  • A firearm that, after the removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is not as detectable by walk-through metal detectors;
  • A firearm of which no major component is as detectable by walk-through metal detectors;
  • Any major component of a firearm that, when subjected to inspection by the types of detection devices commonly used at secure public buildings and transit stations, does not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component; or
  • A firearm, including a frame or receiver, that lacks a unique serial number engraved or cast on it by a licensed manufacturer or importer in accordance with federal law, assigned by the agency of a State and permanently engraved or cast on the firearm, or otherwise placed on the firearm in compliance with local law.

Unfinished frame or receiver means2 any forging, casting, printing, extrusion, machined body, or similar article that:

  • Has reached a stage in manufacture where it may readily be completed, assembled, or converted to be a functional frame or receiver when combined with other parts; or
  • Is marketed or sold to the public to become or be used as the frame or receiver of a functional firearm once the frame or receiver has been completed.

A person may register a self-assembled firearm for personal use3 so long as the person affixes a serial number onto the firearm in accord with the requirements of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(c). A person who self-assembles a firearm must submit a registration application within five days of assembling the firearm.4


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  1. D.C. Code §§ 7-2501.01(9B).[]
  2. D.C. Code §§ 7-2501.01(17B)(A).[]
  3. D.C. Code § 7-2504.01(a)(1).[]
  4. D.C. Code § 7–2502.06(c).[]