By: South Sound Law Group

What Happens if You Get Caught With a Ghost Gun?


Washington State has laws regulating ghost guns, stating that in Washington, it’s illegal to own either an assembled or unassembled ghost gun. It’s also illegal to build, sell, buy, loan, repair, help someone else assemble or buy, or transport anything falling in the ghost gun description. The few exceptions to these laws are for police officers and members of the U.S. armed forces to use while on official duties and for manufacturers of firearms who sell those firearms to the police, military, or for export. 

What Is a Ghost Gun?

A ghost gun is not a kind of science fiction weapon that’s invisible—it’s literally a gun. They’re usually sold in ghost gun kits, which the buyer can assemble at home. It’s not technically a gun when it arrives in pieces, but once it’s put together, it’s a weapon. It has no serial number, so it can pass around the country undetected and is difficult to trace. It’s also much more accessible for people who should not have guns—domestic abusers, minors, gun traffickers—to be able to get them. 

What Are the Legal Consequences of Getting Caught With a Ghost Gun?

Being caught with a ghost gun carries a potential maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Depending on your arrest conditions, additional requirements, such as drug/alcohol or domestic violence counseling, may exist.

If someone has previously been convicted of having or assembling a ghost gun illegally and is charged again, the subsequent charges are more serious. This could be a class C felony conviction, leading to up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Let Us Advise You

Having ghost guns is a serious infraction of Washington State law. If you or someone you know has been charged with this offense, call us at 253-383-3328 to learn more about the legal process. The laws around ghost gun possession and assembly can be challenging to maneuver through, and it could be beneficial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney working with you.