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Is It Illegal to Make Your Own Gun?

is it illegal to make your own gun

Guns have been a part of history, and people have been manufacturing and selling them for ages. Whether it’s for personal or professional use, having a gun requires much scrutiny. But what if you were to make your own gun? What do international laws say about it?

In this article, we’ll compare the different gun control laws from the US, Canada, and the UK. Check it out!

In the US

It is legal to make a homemade gun in most US states. The sale and distribution of “ghost guns,” or homemade guns, however, require a federal license and a unique serial number for each weapon under the Gun Control Act of 1968.

If you create a gun for dealership or sales, you must perform background checks and keep detailed records of your transactions.


Receivers are the most regulated part of a gun because they house the mechanical components of the gun as well as project the bullets.

Finished receivers are regulated. As a result, purchasing one means you need to register it.

On the flip side, unfinished receivers, often called 80% receivers, are not regulated or illegal. You can create a finished receiver by acquiring the raw materials needed in them, which is completely legal under US laws.

Licensing and Registration

You don’t need a license to own any kind of gun in most states. Here’s a breakdown of laws in various states:

  • Massachusetts and Illinois: require firearm owners to have a “license to own”
  • California, Connecticut, Hawaii, and New Jersey: firearm buyers need a “permit to purchase” before buying guns
  • Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, and Rhode Island require permits to buy handguns
  • New York requires a license to own handguns
  • DC requires all guns to be registered, and this doubles as a licensing requirement

Most states also don’t require registrations for many types of guns. Here’s another breakdown of states that have registration requirements:

  • DC and Hawaii require the registration of all firearms
  • New York requires handgun registration
  • California requires residents to report their firearms
  • Six states require the registration of assault weapons, pistols, and 50 caliber rifles grandfathered before the ban
  • Eight states ban the establishment of firearm registries

In the US, fully automatic weapons that are made before 1986 are legal. As a result, fully automatic weapons that are recently built at home are illegal.

In Canada

Gun laws are stricter in Canada than in the US. It’s illegal to manufacture or possess a firearm without a license and appropriate registration certificate. Regardless of the manufacturing method, you need a business license to produce any firearm.

All gun owners must be licensed, and most semiautomatic weapons need to be licensed. Getting a license also requires stricter procedures, such as getting an extensive background check and training under the Firearms Act, which regulates the possession, transport, and storage of firearms in Canada.

Legal vs. Illegal Guns

In Canada, there are three types of guns:

  • Non-restricted: these are regular rifles and shotguns, as well as some military-style rifles and shotguns.
  • Prohibited: these include handguns with less than 105mm barrels and 32 or 25 calibers, fully automatic weapons, guns with sawed-off barrels, and military rifles like AK-47.
  • Restricted: non-prohibited handguns and some semi-automatic weapons.

All of these can be purchased and owned legally, but you have to undergo an extensive licensing and registration process.

Licensing and Registration

You need a license to own and buy firearms or ammunition in Canada, and this applies to everybody.

  • Applicants for non-restricted firearms must pass firearms safety tests.
  • Applicants for restricted or prohibited firearms must pass another series of safety tests.

They also cannot carry restricted and prohibited firearms either concealed or openly without a license. They must be stored at home and cannot be transported unless for very specific situations.

All restricted and prohibited firearms must be registered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In the UK

The UK has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. The main law came from the late 1960s but was amended to further restrict gun ownership following massacres that involved licensed weapons. As such, it’s also essentially illegal to make a homemade gun in the UK if you’re not a licensed and registered manufacturer.

Owning a Gun in the UK

You can own a gun in the UK if you have a license, although you need to comply with strict regulations to acquire such a license and/or certificate. To do that, you must apply to your local police force for either a Firearm Certificate or a Shotgun Certificate.

Firearm vs. Shotgun Certificate

A firearm certificate is needed for weapons like rifles and pistols with extra-long barrels, air rifles with a power of more than12 foot-pounds, or a shotgun with three or more cartridges in a magazine.

Meanwhile, a shotgun certificate is for a smoothbore gun that doesn’t have a magazine or a non-detachable magazine that holds no more than two cartridges. The barrel shouldn’t be less than 24 inches and the bore shouldn’t be less than 2 inches.

Accepted Reasons for Gun Ownership

You aren’t allowed to have a gun purely to defend yourself. There are only two reasons to have a gun: one is for shooting at targets at a gun club while the other is for hunting.

You can keep your gun at home, but it should be under lock and key and in a cabinet attached to a wall. The police will come and inspect it. You need to keep the ammunition somewhere separate, although it could a compartment inside the gun cabinet.

3D Printing of Ghost Guns

3D printing guns and firearms circumvent many of the laws imposed in the US, Canada, and in a lesser capacity, the UK. These are guns made from 3D printers.

In the US, 3D printing allows people who cannot buy a gun to have one legally. Meanwhile, in Canada, a growing problem with 3D-printed guns and violence related to the use of such weapons exists. The UK has the same problem.

Thanks for reading. For more posts similar to this, see our criminal law page.

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