It’s considered by critics to be a loophole in American gun law. If you go online, the options are endless. You can have a mail order gun, without a serial number or a background check, in a matter of days.
The guns are delivered as kits and as individual pieces mailed separately, are not considered a gun.
“Those are only for personal use. So you cannot, if your intent is to buy a kit, manufacture that kit and then sell it, you would need to be licensed,” said Eric Frey, the Resident Agent in-charge at the Cleveland ATF.
The guns are sold exclusively for personal use and cannot be re-sold. Gun enthusiasts are the primary customers, but there's always the opportunity for these weapons to end up in the wrong hands, and that federal officials say, is where problems can arise.
Ghost guns have already been tied to shootings in Dallas and Baltimore.
“When we found out that gun was a homemade gun...and I was on the scene and we were all looking at it, wondering what to call it and what do you think it is, how would you describe it, that was a big part of the conversation,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis.
Frey says purchasing a gun kit and going through the steps to assemble and even manufacture the receiver (the only component of the kit federally regulated) to make it ready for use, is a tedious and complicated process.
“When you look at the access to firearms, that's a lot of work for somebody to go through to get one firearm,” said Frey.
But ask Baltimore Police who say using a weapon like this even once to commit a crime, is enough, “That was a homemade gun and that concerns us. We don't see that often in Baltimore but the fact that we saw one concerns us greatly,” said Davis.
Some U.S. Senators have already promised to introduce legislation this year that would require a background check to purchase these kits online.