Recognizing and Documenting Ghost Guns


When: February 9th, 2022 from 1pm - 2pm ET


The United States has strict requirements for firearm manufacturers and importers regarding serial numbers and other required markings. New technologies such as 3D printing, and different interpretations of the laws surrounding firearms, have resulted in the rise of un-serialized firearms, commonly referred to as “ghost guns.” Of great importance is a controversial “80% rule,” which asserts that a firearm does not fall under US federal guidelines unless its receiver is more than 80% complete.

One result of this rule has been the production of 3D printed firearm parts in order to complete or alter an existing firearm. Another has been the development of “build and shoot” kits, which allow just about anyone to build a complete firearm. With no serial number, and no background check required, these types of firearms are becoming more and more prevalent and recovered as part of criminal investigations.

In this presentation, we will explore some of these types of firearms, what to look for when documenting evidence, and how to accurately report the information to assist with investigations, reduce confusion, and eventually compile reliable data.

Detailed Learning Objectives:

• Understand the required markings of US made and imported firearms, and where to find them.

• Become familiar with recognizing 3D firearm parts and “ghost guns.”

• Explain how to properly document “ghost guns” to further investigations.


Presenter: Jonathan Fried, MFS - Director of Program Operations for the MS in Forensic Pattern Analysis Program at Loyola University Maryland



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