Conversations around the use of so-called “bump stocks” – a quasi-legal firearm component that allows semi-automatic weapons to be converted to full-auto – have greatly intensified in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, when it was confirmed that shooter Stephen Paddock had converted a number of the guns found in his hotel room to fully automatic weapons.
“Bump stocks,” however comprise only a small fraction of the entire secondary arms market, which is rife with more than enough parts and accessories to build your very own, all-but-completely-untraceable gun from scratch, and it’s about to get easier than ever.
RELATED: WATCH: This Commercial For ‘Bump Stocks’ Is Everything That Is Wrong With Gun Culture In America
Wired’s Andy Greenberg just released a video outlining just how simple it is to do this, and how incredibly low the overhead is to essentially set up your own underground gunsmithing operation. The results, as you might imagine, are rather unsettling.
Anyone can buy every part of an AR-15 on the Internet. There’s one part, though, that you can’t buy without a background check, and that is a functioning lower receiver…For years, DIY gun makers have been legally creating their own lower receivers to skirt gun control laws and build untraceable weapons. I wanted to see if new, digital tools would make building one of these ‘ghost guns’ even easier for someone like me…If I can legally make a semi-automatic rifle, and circumvent all gun control, anyone can.
Crafted from a solid chunk of aluminum, partially-unfinished lower receivers can actually be purchased legally, as well. From there, according to Greenberg, “all you have to do is remove a few cavities of aluminum…and you’re left with a true, functioning gun.”
Obviously, upon closer scrutiny, the finishing process is easier said than done, as Greenberg aptly demonstrates by attempting to mill a lower receiver with a drill press, and then print one with a 3D printer. However, it’s when he demonstrates the “Ghost Gunner” that you can really start to feel the ice crawling its way up your spine.
Created by Defense Distributed, a “controversial” organization whose claim to fame is putting blueprints for 3D-printable gun parts on the web (including one for the first fully 3D-printable pistol), the “Ghost Gunner” is a computer-controlled milling machine designed specifically for the purpose of converting partially-unfinished lower receivers for use. For about $1500, you too can create, as Greenberg put it, your very own, “tiny, anarchic rifle factory” anywhere you damned well please.
As I watched the “Ghost Gunner” precisely carve away aluminum, it became clear that the barrier to legally obtaining a fully metal, untraceable, semi-automatic rifle is lower than ever before.
On their website, Defense Distributed claims that “due to Federal regulatory overreach, Ghost Gunner is now the only affordable CNC solution for privately finishing your 80% lower receivers.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how making it difficult for people to manufacture untraceable firearms is some form of “overreach,” unless you’re some sort of fanatic. Or maybe an assassin. Either way, if you’re at a point where you’ve bought a “Ghost Gunner” or a seriously considering doing so, it might be time to take your guns away in the first place.
Our reporter built an untraceable semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, and skirted gun control laws to do it. It wasn't very hard.
Posted by WIRED on Thursday, October 12, 2017
This was originally posted on Pink Elephants.