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posted by CoolHand on Tuesday October 03 2017, @04:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the gotta-have-guns dept.

The Ghost Gunner has been updated to allow the CNC milling of a much more popular and accessible form of firearm: a handgun:

For the past five years, Cody Wilson has applied every possible advance in digital manufacturing technology to the mission of undermining government attempts at gun control. First he created the world's first 3-D printed gun, a deadly plastic weapon anyone could print at home with a download and a few clicks. Then he started selling a computer-controlled milling machine designed to let anyone automatically carve out the body of an untraceable AR-15 from a semifinished chunk of aluminum, upgrading his provocations from plastic to metal. Now his latest advance in home firearm fabrication allows anyone to make an object designed to defy the most basic essence of gun control: A concealable, untraceable, and entirely unregulated metal handgun.

On Sunday, Wilson's gun rights advocacy group, Defense Distributed, announced a new release of software for his computer-controlled milling machine known as the Ghost Gunner. The new code allows the 1-foot-cubed tabletop machine—which uses a spinning bit to carve three-dimensional shapes with minute precision—to not only produce untraceable bodies of AR-15s but to carve out the aluminum frame of an M1911 handgun, the popular class of semiautomatic pistols that includes the Colt 45 and similar weapons. Wilson says he plans to follow up soon with software for producing regulation-free Glocks and other handgun models to follow.

Wilson's goal now, he says, is to do for small arms what Defense Distributed did for AR-15s when it first released the $1,500 Ghost Gunner milling machine exactly three years ago to the day: Give people the ability to make a lethal weapon at home with no regulation whatsoever.

M1911 pistol.

This story came out before the mass shooting in Las Vegas, on the third anniversary of the initial release of the Ghost Gunner, just in case you were wondering.

Also at Ars Technica:

"It's a certain type of person who builds and enjoys an AR-15—that's a lot of gun, and most people don't feel the need to have a big ol' battle rifle," Wilson says. "But we believe lots of people are interested in the conversation about an untraceable, concealable handgun. It's been on the roadmap the whole time for this project. It's just always been a question of how we get there, and it ended up being very, very difficult—kinda like the brass ring of the project, if you will."

Previously: FedEx Refuses to Ship Defense Distributed's Ghost Gunner CNC Mill
Man Who Used CNC Mill to Manufacture AR-15 "Lowers" Sentenced to 41 Months


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @05:10PM (11 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @05:10PM (#576670)

    In the US, there are regulations on manufacturers of firearms. Might those apply even if one is manufacturing them only for oneself and one's minions?

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday October 03 2017, @05:26PM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday October 03 2017, @05:26PM (#576677) Journal

    IANAL, but you can get an entirely unregulated 80% lower and other parts. Then finish it with the CNC mill. Don't tell anybody you did so or distribute or sell it, unless you are confident of not getting ratted out to the FBI/ATF/DOJ/etc.

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    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @05:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @05:36PM (#576686)

    Yes, but only because you used the word "manufacture" -- which is not the same as "make". In the context of US gun laws, "manufacture" has a specific definition that means, approximately, "make with the intent to sell" (obviously, go look up and read the actual definition if you're thinking about making a gun, as it is more complicated than that); if you make a gun for yourself, that is legally not manufacturing, and it's largely unregulated. If, on the other hand, what you're doing is manufacturing, you need a license (FFL) to do it at all, and you have to abide by a bunch of extra rules regarding serial numbers, bookkeeping, etc.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @05:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @05:40PM (#576692)

    If it's purely for yourself, and you're not otherwise prohibited from owning firearms, it's nobody's business but your own.

    If you're handing them out to third parties ("minions" as you say) then it becomes a larger question.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Tuesday October 03 2017, @07:07PM (7 children)

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Tuesday October 03 2017, @07:07PM (#576736) Journal

    Kinda sorta. You are allowed to make, for your own use, any regular firearm without a serial number or manufacturer's registration with ATF. ("Untraceable." Heh. Grind the serial number off the gun and it's untraceable - which is illegal, granted. But if you're going to build yourself a kit gun I'd be AWFULLY carefully to have fully documented the build process in a way that traces it harder than a regular chain of possession. Not to mention it's just smarter to not let yourself get noticed. And it ain't all that much cheaper to buy a finished firearm instead - add in your own labor cost in building it and the potential maintenance pitfalls and it's probably more expensive.)

    However, some laws do still apply. You can't be a prohibited possessor (think felon) and think you can just make your own gun and it's ok.

    You can't add a stock to a rifled bore and have less than a 16 inch barrel or 22 inch overall length without it having a tax stamp from ATF; AFAIK you can't get one of those for a homemade firearm. You can't add a silencer to it.

    So, here's the question.... Aside from government collecting its taxes, what is the difference if I buy a used rifle at a gun show or have a finished billet aluminum upper in my possession?

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    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @07:43PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @07:43PM (#576745)

      I'm going to nitpick a lot, so let me first say...
      You really are mostly right.
      But it's worth getting the details right, because there's just too much misinformation floating around.

      You can't add a stock to a rifled bore and have less than a 16 inch barrel or 22 inch overall length without it having a tax stamp from ATF; AFAIK you can't get one of those for a homemade firearm. You can't add a silencer to it.

      That's a 26" OAL, and you left out the similar rule for smoothbores (18" barrel, 26" OAL), but no big deal.

      You can make a homemade SBR, SBS, AOW, etc. You submit a Form 1 (to make an NFA firearm) rather than a Form 4 (to transfer an NFA firearm), and the tax is $200 for everything (whereas the transfer tax is only $5 for AOW, $200 for everything else), but it's basically the same process, with the same months-long wait. This applies whether you're making the NFA firearm from scratch, or making it from an existing non-NFA gun (e.g. cutting down a pre-existing rifle or shotgun), and in the latter case, regardless of whether the existing gun is one manufactured by an FFL, or a "ghost gun" made by yourself.

      As for silencers, they are considered a firearm in their own right under the NFA (it's also possible to make one of these yourself, again with a Form 1 and a $200 tax). Whether made or bought, federal law doesn't care what gun they're on, or if they're on any gun at all. (In general -- obviously, if you're using a short barrel with permanently attached silencer to meet the 16"/18" barrel length, you can't simply remove it without filing a Form 1 to make a short-barreled rifle/shotgun... but that's not really about the silencer.)

      So, here's the question.... Aside from government collecting its taxes, what is the difference if I buy a used rifle at a gun show or have a finished billet aluminum upper in my possession?

      If you're talking about an AR-15, the upper receiver is not the one true receiver that contains the soul of the gun; that's the lower receiver. Assuming you meant lower receiver, or you meant some other gun for which the upper receiver is the controlled part, then there's really not much difference.

      One answer you'll get is that you can't sell the homemade gun. That's not true; I'm not entirely clear on the rules of reselling a homemade gun with no serial number (some people say you can't, some people say you can, I've not really looked into it), but certainly the easy option, with at the very least less explaining to potential buyers, is to come up with a unique serial number and mark the receiver according to the same rules that apply to FFLs (depth of engraving, height of letters, etc.); if you do this, you can definitely sell the homemade gun when you get bored with it, same as the used rifle. (Keep in mind that if you made it with the intent to sell it, that's bad, but choosing to sell it later on is perfectly okay.)

      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Tuesday October 03 2017, @09:47PM (1 child)

        by mhajicek (51) on Tuesday October 03 2017, @09:47PM (#576797)

        From what I've read, the rules are that you can make up to three firearms per year without a FFL, provided that you don't sell them within two years of the date of manufacture. Make more than three per year, or sell them sooner, and the BATF will "reasonably" assume that you're making them for sale.

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04 2017, @12:08AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04 2017, @12:08AM (#576857)

          I've read that too (several places), but so far I've been unable to track down where those figures originated -- whether that's an ATF letter, a court ruling, or just some guy at the gun shop making up bullshit to avoid admitting there's something he doesn't know. I haven't looked hard enough to be confident it's the latter, but enough to make me wonder...

      • (Score: 1) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday October 05 2017, @03:51PM (3 children)

        by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Thursday October 05 2017, @03:51PM (#577479) Journal

        The nitpicks were entirely worth it, as I learned quite a bit, thanks!

        And now that you mention it, and I'm sorry for making this hearsay but I can't cite details now, I do remember something-or-other about someone in a state in the Northwest (Montana, maybe?) defending the idea that as long as the unserialed guns are sold only in-state to other in-state owners and not with the intent of doing business that interstate commerce cannot attach and therefore ATF has no jurisdiction on the transactions. I'd be surprised if that actually flew if put to the test (if I were ATF I might think about playing the "it affects commerce of out-of-state sellers so all such transactions have interstate impact.")

        But really the point of this post is saying Thanks for the corrections, AC, and now I wish I haven't posted the thread so I could give you some mod point love!

        --
        This sig for rent.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06 2017, @07:42PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06 2017, @07:42PM (#578276)

          Funnily enough ...

          that's the same logic used by states legalising marijuana. If you look at the regulations passed by states like Washington, they're very clear that this is all about in-state stuff only.

          It's actually a pretty interesting situation. If the feds go after them and win, it's a big PR black eye for the feds and falls right into the federal-overreach scenario. If the feds go after them and lose, a whole bunch of other things suddenly slip from the fingers of the feds. So far the feds haven't called the states' bluff - and if they're smart, they won't. It's a no-win scenario for them.

          Funnily enough, the all-commerce-affects-interstate-commerce argument dates back to, and was a sore point as of, FDR's New Deal. You can look it up, but it's very controversial.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06 2017, @11:31PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06 2017, @11:31PM (#578391)

          You're welcome, and thanks for taking it in the spirit it was meant.

          You may be thinking of Montana's Firearms Freedom Act [wikipedia.org], and similar laws passed in several other states. Montana's law, at least, was struck down by the Ninth Circuit using exactly the reasoning you suggest, that even sales of firearms that can't cross state lines still affects the national market for firearms. However, to my knowledge the Supreme Court has not heard any cases involving any of these laws, so it's still possible they could uphold laws of this sort in the future.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08 2017, @03:48AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08 2017, @03:48AM (#578758)

            The thing is, that the Ninth Circuit taking it that way doesn't really matter as much precisely because they're bound by SCOTUS precedent going back to the New Deal. It's also an issue that does not get the same kind of excited attention in the big coastal cities, so it's not a situation that would actually highlight the federal jackboot in the same way that marijuana prosecutions would.

            Same logic, different political reality.