With today’s technology, we can virtually make anything we desire. From prosthetic limbs to guns, all of this can be created in the privacy of our home.
A machine manufactured by Defense Distributed allows buyers to carve objects out of aluminum from a digital design. The mill, known as “Ghost Gunner” opens up the possibility that anyone could carve out an AR-15 rife body that has no traceable serial number, all while in their own home.
Parts for the shell can be purchased online to finish out the project, for an untraceable DIY, semi-automatic weapon known as a ghost gun.
Within 36 hours of the reveal of this machine, the pre-order slots were filled. The machine had literally sold out within this time.
Although the machine is available for anyone to craft their own unidentifiable arsenal, the machine has to make it to the homes of customers. FedEx is making that dream a bit more difficult.
FedEx has refused to deliver the Ghost Gunner. There are some legal issues that need to be investigated before the delivery giant opts to place the product on the doorsteps of homes around the nation.
FedEx spokesperson, Scott Fiedler stated:
We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations, FedEx declined to ship this device until we know more about how it will be regulated.
At the other end of the barrel, Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and the author of a book titled Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America tells WIRED that the buying, selling or use of the Ghost Gunner machine isn’t illegal. Owning the AR-15 without a serial number isn’t defying any laws either.
This is not that problematic. Federal law does not prohibit individuals from making their own firearms at home and that includes AR-15s.
Cody Wilson is the founder of Defense Distributed. He claims that FedEx is simply holding the shipment of the Ghost Gunner because it is a tool that is easily accessible and can make anything, including the deadly weapons like the AR-15.
They’re acting like this is legal when in fact it’s the expression of a political preference. The artifact that they’re shipping is a CNC mill. There’s nothing about it that is specifically related to firearms except the hocus pocus of the marketing.
A FedEx representative spoke with Wilson over the phone last week, informing him of the choice to not ship his mills but didn’t offer any explanation. WIRED inquired during an interview with Fiedler the reason why it chose not to ship the mills. Fiedler declined any comment although he offered a list of items that are not shipped through the company, such as hazardous waste and human corpses.
The list also included items such as marijuana, even though it is now legal in some states. Nothing about firearms or gun-making tools were listed.
The Ghost Gunner is a multipurpose milling machine. Various items can be crafted from the Ghost Gunner, although the company markets the item for making AR-15s as the primary purpose for purchasing it. Wilson made it clear that this was basically to get back at the “bleeding hearts of these total statists.”
It’s about humiliating the power that wants to humiliate you.
Gun bodies have been crafted in the privacy of gun enthusiast homes for years using much more expensive tools. Today, the technology has opened up the use of 3-D plastic printing of the gun shells. California governor, Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that was set to outlaw the making of firearms without serial numbers in homes. He stated he “can’t see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun would significantly advance public safety.”
Several companies have chosen to have nothing to do with Defense Distributed. A fundraiser set up on the website in 2012 by Indiegogo was removed by the company once the controversy began around Defense Distributed. Stratasys, a company that supplies rental printers, refused to rent Defense Distributed a printer after finding the company was using it to craft gun bodies.
With the abundance of this type of technology, the hope of keeping track of gun owners becomes difficult. The war against gun-related crime won’t end any time soon with people having the ability to craft guns in their own homes. This brings up the question, “Why not craft a hunting rifle? Why the AR-15?” Is this an “I’m cool and have to have one” idea or is this going to be used for what it was designed as; a killing machine?
The total number of incidents of gun violence in this year alone has risen to 6,128. Out of this number, 1,796 people have died. Injuries in the first two months of 2015 related to guns is 2,886 and the number of children who were killed or injured between the ages of infancy and 11 is 73. Two hundred and eighty one teens were either killed or injured in 2015 by guns.
There have been 30 mass shootings in the first two months of this year. One hundred and eighty one people were killed or injured in the attempt to defend themselves with guns. Officers involved in shootings this year are 606. Injuries and deaths from accidental shootings sits at 292.
These statistics were all in 2015. We’re only in the second month of the year.