You can buy CNC milling machines on any one of dozens of web sites and have them shipping straight to your door, but FedEx is refusing to deliver one computer-controlled milling machine that is only remarkable for its name.
Last week FedEx told firearm-access nonprofit Defense Distributed that the company refuses to ship the group’s new tool, a computer controlled (CNC) mill known as the Ghost Gunner. Defense Distributed has marketed its one-foot-cubed $1,500 machine, which allows anyone to automatically carve aluminum objects from digital designs, as an affordable, private way to make an AR-15 rifle body without a serial number. Add in off-the-shelf parts that can be ordered online, and the Ghost Gunner would allow anyone to create one of the DIY, untraceable, semi-automatic firearms sometimes known as “ghost guns.”
When the machine was revealed last October, Defense Distributed’s pre-orders sold out in 36 hours. But now FedEx tells WIRED it’s too wary of the legal issues around homemade gunsmithing to ship the machine to customers. “This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals,” FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler wrote in a statement. “We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations, FedEx declined to ship this device until we know more about how it will be regulated.”
FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler’s claim is incredibly dishonest.
There are not now, nor have their ever been, restrictions on the buying and selling of CNC machines or similar technologies to American hobbyists. The only significant difference between Defense Distributed’s Ghost Gunner and the CNC machines that you can buy on Amazon.com right now is how it is marketed to consumers.
Yes, you heard that correctly. FedEx is refusing to ship these particular CNC machines because they are marketed by Defense Distributed as a way of completing the milling of 80% lower receivers for AR-15 rifles.
FedEx will ship other CNC machines just as capable of completing an untraceable lower receiver without batting an eye, as well as the lower receivers themselves, Dremel tools, jigs, drill bits, routers, lathes, and other common (and much cheaper) machine shop tools used by recreational gunsmiths. FedEx will ship simple shop presses and drill presses that someone with a minimal level of training can use to churn out untraceable AKMs by the dozen.
Again, the only difference between the tens of thousands of machine tools and gunsmithing equipment that FedEx will ship, and this one machine that they will not ship, is that Defense Distributed intentionally and loudly thumbed its nose at the gun-hating fanatics of the Obama Administration when it created the Ghost Gunner.
We are left to suspect that this is just the latest attempt by the Obama Administration—which is currently pushing for the ban of M855 ammunition though it lacks the legal authority to do so—is part of a broader campaign against the manufacture and supply of the AR-15 platform, the most common centerfire rifle sold in the United States and also the firearm of contemporary militia utility most protected by the intent of the Second Amendment.
FedEx founder, chairman, CEO, and President Frederick W. Smith, a Vietnam Marine with two tours of duty, could have chosen to stand with American gun owners against the tyranny of the Obama Administration, instead of kneeling before it.
To say that I’m disappointed in the decision of FedEx to stand on the side of tyranny is an understatement.
Update: UPS is joining FedEx in refusing to ship the Ghost Gunner… though it will continue to ship other CNC machines not specifically marketed for manufacturing firearms.
This is absurd.