ATF seal
ATF text
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Contact: Public Affairs Division

ATF Issues Open Letter to FFLs to Clarify Application of “Frame or Receiver” Final Rule on Certain Semiautomatic Pistol Frames

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued an open letter today to all federal firearms licensees regarding the application of Final Rule 2021-05F, Definition of “Frame or Receiver” and Identification of Firearms, on partially complete Polymer80, Lone Wolf, and similar semiautomatic pistol frames.

In April 2022, the Department of Justice announced a new “Frame or Receiver” final rule, which modernizes the definition of a firearm. The final rule, which went into effect in August 2022, clarifies that parts kits that are readily convertible to firearms are subject to the same regulations as firearms made by a federal firearms licensed manufacturer.

Today’s open letter clarifies to the firearm industry and the public how the August 2022 final rule addresses partially complete, disassembled or nonfunctional semiautomatic striker-fired pistol frames or parts kits manufactured, sold or distributed by Polymer80, Lone Wolf and others.

Partially complete Polymer80, Lone Wolf, and similar striker-fired semiautomatic pistol frames, including, but not limited to, those sold within parts kits, are regulated by the Gun Control Act (GCA) because they have reached a stage of manufacture where they “may readily be completed, assembled, restored, or otherwise converted” to a functional frame.

This definition of “readily” applies to each classification of a partially complete frame or receiver under this rule, whether sold alone or as part of a kit; therefore, even without any associated templates, jigs, molds, equipment, tools, instructions, guides, or marketing materials, these partially complete pistol frames are “frames” and “firearms” as defined in the GCA and its implementing regulations.

“Today’s open letter is another important step in implementing the crucial public safety rule regarding privately made firearms, or Ghost Guns,” said ATF Director Steven Dettelbach. “The partially completed pistol frames described in this open letter are readily convertible to functioning firearms under the Gun Control Act. Ghost Guns can kill like other firearms if they are in the wrong hands, so they are treated as firearms under the law. This means that they must have serial numbers so that law enforcement can trace if they are used in crimes like other guns, and also that those engaged in the business of selling them must be licensed dealers and run background checks.”

If anyone remains unclear about a specific model or configuration, they may submit a request with a sample to ATF, who can only render a formal determination upon receipt of a formal request and physically examining a submitted sample. 

ATF regulates the firearm industry and is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction involving firearms and violent crimes. More information about ATF and its programs is available at