ghost gun


plural ghost guns
: a gun that lacks a serial number by which it can be identified and that is typically assembled by the user (as from purchased or homemade components)
Ghost guns, cobbled together with various parts often purchased separately, are popular among hobbyists and firearms enthusiasts.St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The issue centers on so-called ghost guns, which consist of untraceable parts that can be ordered online and then, with a little finishing work, assembled into a working firearm.Los Angeles Times
Even so, they haven't been outlawed; buying or selling a ghost gun is illegal, but making one remains kosher under US gun control laws.Andy Greenberg

Examples of ghost gun in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The use of ghost guns in violent crimes is soaring, The Washington Post reported in July, noting that teenagers in particular were discovering the ease of obtaining the parts required to assemble ghost guns and are buying, building and firing the homemade weapons with alarming frequency. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 Those numbers aren’t found on ghost guns, typically by design. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 18 Oct. 2023 Individuals received a $100 card for handguns, rifles or shotguns, and a $200 card for assault-style weapons or ghost guns. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Nov. 2023 Police seized a ghost gun and ammunition from his apartment, according to court records. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2023 The Biden administration hailed the change as a step in cracking down on ghost guns. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 18 Oct. 2023 The department said investigators also found the weapon believed to be linked to the shooting — an AR-15-style ghost gun, essentially a do-it-yourself firearm sometimes built from parts from prepackaged kits. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Sep. 2023 Innes faces additional charges of possession of an assault weapon, banned in California, and failure to apply for serial numbers for two would-be firearms under state legislation designed to thwart ghost guns, essentially untraceable firearms that can be 3D-printed. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 9 Aug. 2023 The Biden administration sought emergency relief from the Supreme Court on Thursday and asked the high court to put on hold a ruling from a federal district court in Texas that tossed out the rule governing ghost guns. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 28 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ghost gun.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

2012, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ghost gun was in 2012

Dictionary Entries Near ghost gun

Cite this Entry

“Ghost gun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!