SICKNESS OF HEART
Americans want guns without serial numbers. And apparently, they want to make them at home.
On 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.
To keep up, Wilson says he’s now raising the price for the next round of Ghost Gunners by $100. He has even hired another employee to add to Defense Distributed’s tiny operation. That makes four staffers on the group’s CNC milling project, an offshoot of its larger mission to foil gun control with digital DIY tools.
“People want this machine,” Wilson tells WIRED. “People want the battle rifle and the comfort of replicability, and the privacy component. They want it, and they’re buying it.”
While the Ghost Gunner is a general-purpose CNC mill, capable of automatically carving polymer, wood, and metal in three dimensions, Defense Distributed has marketed its machine specifically as a tool for milling the so-called lower receiver of an AR-15, which is the regulated body of that semi-automatic rifle. The gun community has already made that task far easier by selling so-called “80-percent lowers,” blocks of aluminum that need only a few holes and cavities milled out to become working lower receivers. Wilson says he’s now in talks with San Diego-based Ares Armor, one of the top sellers of those 80-percent lowers, to enter into some sort of sales partnership.
For now, milling your own AR-15 lower receiver at home is legal. A California bill to outlaw the homemade firearms without serial numbers—what the bill’s creator, state senator Kevin De Leon, calls “ghost guns”—was vetoed by governor Jerry Brown Tuesday.
The last time one of Defense Distributed’s inventions led to such a popular frenzy was the release of blueprints for its “Liberator” 3-D printed pistol, the world’s first fully 3-D printable gun. That free file was downloaded 100,000 times in two days.
The sales numbers for the Ghost Gunner may be far smaller. But at $1,200, every sale helps fund the activities of Defense Distributed. “I’ve never felt more optimistic about the ability of Defense Distributed to become an installed part of the future, and to help create an expansion of the second amendment,” he says. “There’s hope that Defense Distributed can become a significant civil liberties organization…That’s the ambition, the wildest dream of this entity, to have a marked material effect like that.”
The anti-gun tears for this are amazing. I love it.
I want one.
Cody Wilson is awesome.
Yesterday 8AM at Pissed Off Pete’s before 200-300 Hells Angels came. We made them breakfast.
This is no joke.
Really sick of not having a car.
Applied for a used car loan for $10,000.
Artsy Zip Guns. According to the blog I found these on, artist Tom Sachs realized that zip guns could be made cheaply and easily, then sold to New York gun “buybacks” for $300 each. Being an artist, of course, he couldn’t resist giving them some flair. You can find more photos here.
For those of you wondering, it IS legal to build a firearm at home, as long as they follow the NFA rules (no Short Barrel Rifles, machine guns, etc.) and they are not for sale or profit. So IF Mr. Sachs actually sold them, he was breaking that second rule, although most “buybacks” stress the “no questions asked” rule.
one of this guy’s guns sasys Hecho En Switzerland” on it.
Which has been something that has always made me laugh since my first time seeing it.