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Ghost guns are prohibited in the District of Columbia.1 With certain exceptions, the District defines a ghost gun2 as:

  • A firearm that, after the removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar;3
  • A firearm of which no major component is as detectable as the Security Exemplar by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar;
  • 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 receiver4, 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 section 202.

A person may register a self-assembled firearm for personal use5 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.6


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  1. D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(8).[]
  2. D.C. Code §§ 7-2501.01(9B).[]
  3. Security Exemplar is defined in 18 USC § 922(p)(2) as “an object, to be fabricated at the direction of the Attorney General, that is—(i) constructed of . . . 3.7 ounces of material type 17-4 PH stainless steel in a shape resembling a handgun; and (ii) suitable for testing and calibrating metal detectors[]
  4. Receiver is defined as a part of a firearm that, when the complete weapon is assembled, is visible from the exterior and provides the housing or structure designed to hold or integrate one or more fire control components (“Fire control component” means a component necessary for the firearm to initiate, complete, or continue the firing sequence, and includes a hammer, bolt, bolt carrier, breechblock, cylinder, trigger mechanism, firing pin, striker, or slide rails. D.C. Code §§ 7-2501.01(12B)(B).) even if pins or other attachments are required to connect those components to the housing or structure.D.C. Code §§ 7-2501.01(12B)(A).[]
  5. D.C. Code § 7-2504.01(a)(1).[]
  6. D.C. Code § 7–2502.06(c).[]