As the headline suggests:
1) You can buy a $1,200 computer controlled milling machine.
2) It can create untraceable gun parts.
3) Seems to have quite the demand.
Over at Wired, there’s an update to an earlier report put together on Cody Wilson. Wilson unveiled the first working, 3D printed gun last year (in time for Christmas!). Well, his open source group “Defense Distributed” just released Ghost Gunner. From the group’s website:
Ghost Gunner is a miniature CNC machine designed to automatically manufacture publicy created designs with nearly zero user interaction. No prior CNC knowledge or experience is required to manufacture from design files. Defense Distributed’s first design is the venerable AR-15 lower receiver. Ghost Gunner automatically finds and aligns your 80% lower receiver to the machine, with simple installation instructions, point and click software and all required tools. Just follow a few simple instructions to mount your 80% lower receiver, tighten a couple screws (with simple tools we provide), and on day one, Ghost Gunner can help you legally manufacture unserialized firearms in the comfort of your own home.
As shipped, Ghost Gunner can manufacture any mil-spec 80% AR-15 lower receiver that already has the rear take down well milled out. Lowers with non-mil-spec trigger guards that are otherwise mil-spec are also compatible. Defense Distributed recommends using the 7075 Ares Armor Raw 80% Lower AR-15 Billet, available for purchase here.
The AR-15’s lower receiver is the part of the gun that is traceable by law. Serial number, that kind of thing—like on virtually every appliance or thing you own. No need for that law stuff with the Ghost Gunner. This past Wednesday:
Cody Wilson’s libertarian non-profit Defense Distributed revealed the Ghost Gunner, a $1,200 computer-controlled (CNC) milling machine designed to let anyone make the aluminum body of an AR-15 rifle at home, with no expertise, no regulation, and no serial numbers. Since then, he’s sold more than 200 of the foot-cubed CNC mills—175 in the first 24 hours. That’s well beyond his expectations; Wilson had planned to sell only 110 of the machines total before cutting off orders.
How does it work? Follow below the fold for more.
The way it works is that you create the untraceable part at home. You buy the rest of the parts—none of which are traceable as parts—and voila! AR 15. Your very own assault rifle and you didn’t have to leave the comfort of your survivalist shed. The lawful work-around is that you cannot “sell” untraceable lower receivers for guns, but there ain’t no law for making one!
Milling gun metal has always been something that only professionals and real hobbyists were involved in. Not anymore:
In fact, the process of legally milling a metal lower receiver is easier than it sounds. Using the Ghost Gunner to carve a lower receiver from a raw block of aluminum would be a lengthy, complex process. But the firearm community has long traded in so-called “80 percent lowers,” lower-receiver-shaped metal pieces that sell for as little as $80 and are roughly 80 percent finished—They only need to have a few holes and cavities milled out to become the body of a working gun. The bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has defined that 80 percent line as the closest an object can come to a regulated rifle without legally qualifying as one. But precisely finishing the last 20 percent of a lower receiver has still required access to a milling machine that typically costs tens of thousands of dollars.
This is part of a larger anarchist mission Defense Distributed and Cody Wilson are involved in:
He gleefully named a design for an AK-47 magazine after Senator Dianne Feinstein, “to commemorate a personal failure of Feinstein’s to take away semi-automatic weapons.” Wilson has been criticized by gun-control advocates, including Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Steve Israel, both of whom have discussed the need for legislative counters to printable guns. While ardent gun-rights advocates are often cast by their opponents as myopic, uneducated, or somehow out of step with the times, Wilson is a bumptious, telegenic twenty-five-year-old who calls himself a crypto-anarchist; he and his collaborators hope that new technologies like bitcoin and 3-D printing will do nothing less than abrogate government, returning power to individuals and small sovereign communities. To him, 3-D printing presents “a world where you can have a firearm if you want. This is a world of equality.”
What’s notable about this kind of talk is how divorced it is from any practical reality. Wilson coolly deflect questions about actual gun violence, in particular the Sandy Hook massacre, shifting into a higher register loaded with intellectualized abstractions. (During a Vice podcast, he noted his willingness to engage even more aggressively in the gun-control debate after Sandy Hook, using it to attract more attention for his vision than competing 3-D-printed gun projects.) Unlike the N.R.A., Wilson doesn’t practice politics; he practices political theory, as he does in the Vice documentary, wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses and cruising to a rented warehouse in his silver BMW, talking about concepts like “socialism from below” or dropping references to French theorists like Jean Baudrillard and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Gun-death statistics are not part of the rhetoric. He doesn’t want to “get bogged down in the numbers.”
I suggest you read the articles linked. It is both interesting and frightening. It really illuminates the sophomoric pseudo-intellectual flaws of the libertarian movement. It also shows that the practicality of their anti-government rhetoric is non-existent. On the one hand, they are democratizing gun ownership, and on the other, they are creating a world that is willfully deaf to all of the damage guns have done and continue to do.
3:51 PM PT: I have updated the article to represent the correct information. As was pointed out in comments, the device is a milling machine and not a printer. The rest of the op does not change as a result of that. I appreciate the comments and the corrections.