Ghost guns are under attack, again.
It seems as if “ghost guns” are making the headlines again, this time in Florida from LEO’s showing concern that these guns are being bought by criminals and are being used in crimes. I just wanted to take a few moments to debunk some of this and go on the offensive.
First, what these companies are selling is not technically a gun. Can a gun be built with the components once finished? Yes, absolutely. But, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, first, before it can be turned into a functional gun. People see these kits with a barrel and the tell-tale AR-15 style handguards and lose their minds.
(Here is a kit I used to build a “ghost gun” from 80% Arms. These are just some of the tools necessary to finish an 80% lower.)
Moving on …
The part that is considered a gun, is called the lower receiver. That is the part that is serialized. The thing that many people don’t realize, is that when you purchase this part, it is not yet technically a gun, it is a lower receiver that is only 80% finished.
On another gun blog where I got the idea to voice my opinion about this, a manufacturer is quoted as saying that all that needs to be done is the drilling, in order to finish the gun. I guess “drilling” is one way to put it.
But, I think “milling” more accurately describes the actual process to finish the 80% lower. One thing that many people don’t realize, is that milling out an 80% lower is not exactly a task to be taken lightly. As someone who just finished one himself, after damaging one lower, I can attest that it’s harder than it looks.
What am I getting at? I had the distinct displeasure of working in one of America’s prisons as a corrections officer for about 1 year. While it was one of the worst years of my life, and the absolute worst job I’ve ever had, I learned a lot about criminal behavior.
What did I learn?
I’d hate to generalize, but a lot of the criminals in there are extremely lazy and are looking for the easiest way. Again, not all of them, but a solid majority didn’t even want to get out of bed in the morning for breakfast. Therefore, I’m not sure they’re willing to do what is necessary to build a gun, when they can just go steal one.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that there is a greater likelihood of a “ghost gun” being stolen by a criminal than a criminal actually building one for crime. It takes too long and is too complicated.
Can it be done? Sure. I’d be an idiot to claim otherwise. But they already have access to stolen guns, so why build one?
Again, this is nothing more than people losing their minds over a non-issue. These things require work to finish, and if they were willing to work, they’d have a job and not be a criminal. I know that sounds simple, but it really is just that easy.
Until we’re provided with statistics showing how often ghost guns are used in crime, it remains a non-issue. Even then, I’d be more inclined to believe that the guns were stolen from someone else who built the gun.
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As a gunsmith, I can tell you right no, completing an 80% lower is no easy task. I have a class 7 license, so I manufacture fully custom AR-15s on a weekly bases. When you can buy a complete lower receiver for less than 50 dollars, and you can, Its much easier to just buy the thing and complete your home build. A solid piece of 7075 aluminum that I machine a custom lower from cost more than a factory lower complete. It takes me about two hours to complete a 80% lower, and one hour to turn a solid ingot into a complete lower. Why pay more for an incomplete lower than you do for a complete factory lower receiver? If you really want to produce your own lowers, Get you FFL, invest in a small CNC mill, and do it right. Its worth the effort. Plus my base labor rate is 58.00 an hour. My average rifle runs 3k, and I’m back ordered 5 months.