Machine developed by Texas inventor lets you make a handgun at home
AUSTIN, Texas (KEYE) —
The Texas church shooting puts gun control back in the national spotlight. Now some people say an Austin company is adding fuel to the fire.
Defense Distributed has released a machine that helps you make untraceable guns in your garage with no background check.
KEYE first talked with Cody Wilson last spring when his machine was being used to make rifles, and he told KEYE something bigger was coming.
Now it's here and law enforcement doesn't like it.
Cody Wilson with Defense Distributed admires his new creation. "There's no markings," Wilson said. "There's no identifying maker's marks. This is a ghost."
His homemade handgun could change the gun control debate. "Something about this pistol, I just think the public doesn't understand yet," Wilson said. "It's here. I think it changes American gun politics."
At 29, Wilson fired a shot across the bow of gun control in 2013 with the Liberator, the world's first 3D printed gun.
The aim of the self-described crypto-anarchist was to share the blueprints of the gun online with the world. But two days later, the U.S. State Department shut him down for violating the Arms Export Control Act. However, the designs were downloaded more than 100,000 times.
Now, to help fund his legal fight with the government, Wilson developed the Ghost Gunner machine. He started with AR-15 rifles. The machine is no bigger than a microwave oven and it precisely drills the holes in an 80-percent lower receiver so you can build a rifle or a handgun.
"That's the 1911," Wilson said as he showed off his gun. "The most popular handgun of all time."
His machine can also mill a Glock.
But not everyone is excited about it. Law enforcement has no idea the guns exists. You can make it in your garage with a Ghost Gunner machine. No background check. No serial number.
"It's untraceable so we have nowhere to start to go back and trace that firearm," Fred Milanowski, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Field Division, said.
ATF traces about 300,000 crime guns a year with one goal. "Track it and find out how the trigger puller got his or her hands on that firearm." Milanowski said.
But with an un-serialized ghost gun he says it's impossible.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says these guns are making law enforcement's job more difficult.
"I just have to say why?" Chief Manley said. "Those that are legally authorized to own weapons can easily go and purchase them at local gun stores or at trade shows."
Texas Gun Sense Vice Chair Ed Scruggs say it's only a matter of time before more of these ghost guns start showing up at crime scenes.
"It's a tune to throwing gasoline on the fire," Scruggs said. "The primary goal of a handgun is to kill a person, whether that be in self-defense or in commission of a crime. The proliferation of untraceable handguns has an astronomical, dangerous aspect to it."
Wilson says he is not doing anything illegal and he says the gun market demanded this type of weapon building and customization.
"I'm not here to comfort you man," Wilsons said. "The threat is real. Ghost guns are happening. People can make these things. You're invited to step in if you want. It's as American as apple pie to make a gun for yourself."
On last check, Wilson's Ghost Gunner machine was sold out on amazon.com. So far he's sold more than 4,000 machines with a price tag of $1,600.