“Ghost guns,” a firearm assembly kit without serial numbers, has become popular amongst gun owners across the nation. These guns are self-assembled and lack any traceability. The downside, according to law enforcement officials, is a criminal’s ability to obtain the guns without recourse.
Under current federal law, no serial numbers are needed on firearms that are built for personal use. Because of this, companies are allowed to sell these kits online, without any background check.
“It’s legal, but it’s almost like a loophole in the law,” Port Orange Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “We’re making it easy for the criminals. I have a concern — a huge concern over that.”
Elite Custom Railing in Holly Hill, FL makes parts for a do-it-yourself AR-15. They specialize in unfinished lower receiver, the part of the gun that houses the trigger.
By leaving it unfinished — meaning only partially drilled — it fails to meet the ATF’s requirement of being more than 80 percent complete. Buyers can finish the receivers at home by finishing the drilling.
Amanda Black, the company’s manager, said they used to make aluminum railings, but found that making the untraceable gun parts was a booming business. Black said they sell between 100 and 150 lower receivers each day.
According to Jim Jusick, co-owner of Tactical Machining in DeLand, while it’s possible for criminals to obtain these guns, it’s highly unlikely because of the skill set required to build the firearms:
Put it like this. There is a possibility. But Joe Terrorist, he’s not a builder.
At least six of these companies operate in Volusia County. It’s difficult for law enforcement to gauge the impact in the area because there’s no way to track the guns.
“When we look at the sales that have been going on —they’re selling on the Internet to people all over the country,” said Special Agent Graham Barlowe of the ATF’s field office in Sacramento. “And I just can’t imagine that there would be an exception in Florida.”