It's about to get a whole lot easier to make a semi-automatic rifle at home with no serial number, no background check, and no waiting period. Cody Wilson, the libertarian behind the world's first 3D-printed gun, is now selling an all-in-one desktop CNC mill, called the Ghost Gunner. It can produce an aluminum lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle — the civilian version of the military's M-16 assault rifle — in a couple of hours.
The lower receiver, which connects the stock, barrel, magazine, and other parts of the gun together, is the component that is legally considered to be a firearm under US law — and its sale is highly regulated. The Ghost Gunner is programmed to take a partially-complete lower receiver, known as an "80 percent lower," and automatically mill it into a functioning part. From there, all you have to do is buy the other widely-available components online and assemble the rifle. As Wilson explains on the product's website, "on day one, Ghost Gunner can help you legally manufacture unserialized firearms in the comfort of your own home."
Pre-orders for the Ghost Gunner started this week at prices ranging from $999 to $1,299, and Cody Wilson's organization, Defense Distributed, sold out its original run of 175 units in just a day. Another 100-unit pre-order allotment sold out the next day.
While the Ghost Gunner makes small-scale firearm assembly and manufacture fairly fool-proof, it isn't a particularly practical solution. All-in, producing an AR-15 this way costs roughly $2,000 — about twice as much as just buying the firearm in a local gun shop. And gun enthusiasts have legally manufactured AR-15 rifles and other weapons at home using the same components for years — this just streamlines the process. The Ghost Gunner, then, like the 3D-printed "Liberator" handgun before it, is more of a political statement than anything else. Cody Wilson has said before that he's trying to cut off gun regulations at the knees, and the Ghost Gunner is certainly successful at finding its way around the law.
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