Nevada Supreme Court finds state's ban on 'ghost guns' constitutional

In 2021, a local parts manufacturer took the legislation to court, deeming it too ambiguous and contrary to the Second Amendment.

A Democratic law to regulate and ban "ghost guns" in Nevada will remain in force. This is what the state Supreme Court decided unanimously, thus reversing the ruling of a lower court.

In 2021, a handmade firearms parts manufacturing company brought the state law to court due to the ambiguity of certain terms used by legislators. Whistleblower Polymer80 is one of the largest producers of ghost gun parts in the country.

Ghost guns are those that have not been produced by a recognized manufacturer using conventional means. Instead they are, in many cases, 3D printed pieces made by individuals by hand in their own homes. For this reason, these firearms do not usually have registration numbers, meaning they cannot be tracked by the government and are practically invisible to authorities.

Ghost guns are in the crosshairs of Democratic lawmakers, as was the case with Nevada's 2021 state law. In that year, Polymer80 challenged 2021 legislation that prohibited the possession, purchase, transportation or receipt of any unfinished firearm frame or receiver, or the assembly of any firearm that did not have a serial number printed on it, a law that would effectively shut down a major component of Polymer80's business in the state.

Initially, a Lyon County court ruled in favor of Polymer80. The ruling concluded that the law "did not explain key terms or notify ordinary individuals precisely when raw materials would become an unfinished frame or receiver. The district court also concluded that the definition enabled arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement."

However, the Supreme Court firmly backed the state law, ensuring that the legal text was sufficiently clear regarding definitions in the context of firearms production.