FedEx Refuses to Ship Perfectly Legal DIY AR-15 CNC Machine

From DD's website: "Ghost Gunner is a miniature CNC machine designed to automatically manufacture publicy created designs with nearly zero user interaction. No prior CNC knowledge or experience is required to manufacture from design files. Defense Distributed's first design is the venerable AR-15 lower receiver. Ghost Gunner automatically finds and aligns your 80% lower receiver to the machine, with simple installation instructions, point and click software and all required tools. Just follow a few simple instructions to mount your 80% lower receiver, tighten a couple screws (with simple tools we provide), and on day one, Ghost Gunner can help you legally manufacture unserialized firearms in the comfort of your own home." (Photo: Defense Distributed)

From DD’s website: “Ghost Gunner automatically finds and aligns your 80% lower receiver to the machine, with simple installation instructions, point and click software and all required tools. Just follow a few simple instructions to mount your 80% lower receiver, tighten a couple screws (with simple tools we provide), and on day one, Ghost Gunner can help you legally manufacture unserialized firearms in the comfort of your own home.” (Photo: Defense Distributed)

Remember the ‘Ghost Gunner’? The CNC mill produced by Defense Distributed that gives one the ability to make a metal AR-15 lower receiver with ease?

Well, following it’s unveiling back in October of 2014, when it was available on pre-order for $1,200 (it’s now $1,500 due to the high demand), the machine is finally ready to ship! There’s only one problem. FedEx, the global courier Defense Distributed’s founder Cody Wilson opted to hire, is refusing to do its job.

“This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals,” FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler told Wired in a statement.

“We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments,” Fiedler continued. “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.”

Wilson was blindsided by FedEx’s refusal to ship his product, not only because it’s perfectly legal but because of the relationship FedEx has developed with the nation’s gun lobby.

“I’ve got an account with another courier, but FedEx is bewildering because the reason I started with them in the first place was their [National Rifle Association] advantage program,” Wilson told Ars by text message.

Wilson believes that FedEx’s reluctance to ship the Ghost Gunner is politically motivated.

“They’re acting like this is legal when in fact it’s the expression of a political preference,” Wilson told Wired. “The artifact that they’re shipping is a CNC mill. There’s nothing about it that is specifically related to firearms except the hocus pocus of the marketing.”

In talking with a FedEx representative, Wilson tried to be explicit about what he was shipping. “This is no big deal, right? It’s just a mill,” Wilson says he told the FedEx rep. “You guys ship guns. You’ve shipped 3-D printers and mills, right? You’ll ship a drill press, right? Same difference.”

Nevertheless, FedEx decided not to ship it out.

The Ghost Gunner is designed primarily for 80 percent lowers, that is receivers that are 80 percent completed and just need minor but not easy-to-do tweaks to become fully operation. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sets the limit at 80 percent complete, after which a receiver becomes regulated by law.

With its diminutive size (one foot by one foot), the machine isn’t built for heavy duty milling but can cut an aluminum 80 percent lower in about an hour.

And again, this process is perfectly legal, as Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and author of “Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” noted.

“This is not that problematic,” said Winkler to Wired. “Federal law does not prohibit individuals from making their own firearms at home, and that includes AR-15s.”

UPDATE, Wednesday 10:24am EST: It appears we can add UPS to the list of shipping companies that won’t send out the Ghost Gunner. 

“UPS is continuing to evaluate such concerns with regard to the transportation of milling machines used to produce operable firearms but, at this point in time, will not accept such devices for transportation,” UPS spokesman Dan McMackin said in an email to Ars.

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  • Why Giveit July 5, 2021, 8:32 pm

    Why does the carrier (fedx, ups, usps) know what your are shipping? I ship a lot of items sold through ebay and never have I been asked what I am shipping.

  • griffon1 June 23, 2017, 1:45 pm

    This article is 2 1/2 years old.
    They are getting ready to ship the updated 2017 model soon.

  • Kevin June 23, 2017, 3:53 am

    Y’all need to sue their pants off for breach of contract.

  • Kinny March 11, 2016, 7:48 am

    Try this. Name your company something without the word “Gun” or “Gunner” in the name. Example, you cannot sell on FleaBay anything that says “AR15” or “AR” on it, but you can say “5.56” or “.223” in your description. There are sellers whose official business name sounds like a car dealership or some other industry. This avoids problems with banks that do not want to handle transactions related to firearms. Ask a gunsmith how he ships tools and equipment related to gunsmithing. Because that is all this is.

  • Mike March 4, 2015, 10:00 am

    I sent my RIA 10mm back to the factory to get some work done on it. Fedex came to my home and picked it up just like a normal package and scanned it in, when it was done a week later Fedex brought it right back to my door all that was needed was someone 21 or older to be there to accept it. It could have been anyone over 21 even if it was a person who broke into my house and just happen to be there when it was delivered, but they wont delivery a perfectly legal CnC mill just because it “CAN BE USED” to finish a 80% lower, WHAT A BUNCH OF ASSHOLES,! Nope someone doesn’t have their hand up your ass making their words come out of your mouth. It’s a shame all the gun owners in obama’s new kingdom should stop using fedex and ups, for refusing to ship a TOOL because THEY don’t like it. Maybe they should stop shipping DRUGS through the mail instead of TOOLS. It’s no wonder the big biz and government keeps doing things like this to us, it’s because WE let them. When has there ever been a president who Told us HE was going to pass LAWS to allow all the people who snuck into this country to become legal citizens, even if they were and are rapists, murders, drug addicts or even from cartels. But this one little tool is just to dangerous to ship. Canada is looking better and better or maybe mexico since it’s clearing out down there because most are here in the states

  • energy101 March 3, 2015, 7:12 am

    Can’t blame them for non-ship. As a retail store owner, it scares the crap out of me. Any goon with a computer can make
    a potentially dangerous weapon ….. heck, he could make a hundred of them and sell them to who knows who.

    • W. Radford March 3, 2015, 12:43 pm

      So tell me, energy101, just how in the hell would what someone does with a totally legal product you sold them have any effect on, or liability, to you?????????? If someone misuses a car and intentionally kills or injures others, is the car company liable? NO!
      Your comment only serves to point out how little you understand the concepts of freedom, and personal RESPONSIBILITY. Best you pray the sheepdogs guarding you never to get too hungry.

    • jimmy March 3, 2015, 4:32 pm

      You have no idea. You can already buy a $75 jig to do the same thing with a hand drill. And it is only legal to make a gun for your own personal use. IT IS ILLEGAL FOR THEM TO BE SOLD TO ANYONE you are stuck with it and can never sell it You also cannot make one for someone else — The law is you can only make your own. If someone can gather and assemble all the many many components required to make an AR-15 — even using this cnc machine to do the lower —– trust me it is not that easy —- it would be much easier for them to buy one used — or buy it illegily from someone rather then go to all the hassell of building thier own.

      • Jay March 4, 2015, 7:35 am

        Jimmy you are incorrect! According to Federal regulations, which should not even exist in my opinion you can make a firearm and sell it if certain criteria is met! A person and or non licensed gun manufacturer may manufacture a semiautomatic rifle for his or her own personal use. As long as the firearm remains in the custody of the person who manufactured it, the firearm need not be marked with a serial number or name and location of the manufacturer. However, if the firearm is transferred to another party at some point in the future, the firearm must be marked in accordance with the provisions set forth in 27 CFR § 478.92 (formerly 178.92).

        • robgump January 19, 2016, 10:15 am

          One of the best kept secrets about manufacturing – NFA items are determined by their ICC status as manufactured item(s) for the final assembly or sale. If you use scrap, or raw materials ( or nuts, bolts, screws, tubes, etc… that don’t have a specific designed use as firearms parts) the ICC rules do not apply in the manufacture of a machine gun. NFA jurisdiction only apply to those items that are subject to interstate commerce. ATF lost a case at the 3rd District after they had arrest a man for manufacturing 3 machine guns. Granted the guy they arrested was a felon and the state then charged him with weapons charges. I suppose you would want to get all you legal ducks in a row(friendly chief LEO, state laws in line, state attorney support, etc..) before you taunt the 900 lb gorilla.

    • Russ March 4, 2015, 8:17 pm

      Your twisted mind is easily frightened.
      It can also be used by someone who makes hundreds of potentially righteous weapons that are used to defend and save millions.
      Firearms save more people in a good guy hands , than kill people in a criminals hands.

      Anti gunners pose here quite often.
      Did we find one?

    • James OD January 14, 2016, 9:48 pm

      You’re an ignorant and stupid sheep. Anyone can make a gun right now with $20 in plumbing parts from Home Depot. Or commit mass murder with $3 worth of gas, a rag, a bottle and a match. Please tell us about your “retail store” — I think it needs to be checked for dangerous objects that might fall into the wrong hands.

      • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 8:16 am

        I seem to remember that the worst mass murder by one person was, in fact, that episode at a bar where the guy killed 47 people with a can of gas and a lighter.

    • Chris Hale October 21, 2016, 3:31 am

      Why is a gun hating idiot like you even commenting on an article in GUNS AMERICA!? That would be like me reading an article on unicorns and leaving negative comments. ..Just a stupid troll.

  • larry henson March 2, 2015, 1:20 pm

    The US Post Office (a PRIVATE Company, quasi Fedral – like the Federal Reserve = IS NOT!) is in charge of UPS, FedEx, etc.! The demon-rats “gave us DEATH CARE”, while EXEMPTING THEMSELVES! Now STOLE the INTERNET. SEARCH and SEE “Complete LIVES Chart” WHY would this make ANYONE concerned? FCC Stole the INTERNET, last WEEK! lol year olds = 1/3 of a human! Zero – 2 years old = non human! 60 = 1/3 human, 80 – 1/20 human! Handicapped and “chronically ill” (2 overnight stays in a year, at a hospital) NO health care, only “palliative care” (DEATH CARE via )

    • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 8:14 am

      So vote for Ted Cruz. He’s a strict constitutionalist and has won cases before the supreme court in favor of the second amendment and personal liberty. Check out his record for yourself, don’t believe me or the media, not that we’re saying the same things about him. Anyone who believes the media about political candidates probably also believes it’s possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  • Marion March 2, 2015, 9:39 am

    Just drive or fly out to Austin, TX and pick it up. It’s not that far. Problem solved.

    • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 8:11 am

      True that. If you can afford to buy a machine for $1500 that finishes up a part for a $700 rifle, you can certainly afford the air fare or fuel/vehicle wear. How many are you going to build anyway? Unless you’re serializing and selling them, why??? I can see a couple of hundred dollars for jigs and tools if you’re going to build 1 or 2 or even 4, but $1500 seems a bit steep and it’s even worse if you have to buy additional computer stuff to control the machine. I have to wonder also, how many it can build before needing costly maintenance.

  • Ray March 2, 2015, 7:40 am

    that guy is a fucking dumb shit and he doesn’t know he is talking about

    • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 8:07 am

      Your comment is rude and is a typical comment I’d expect from a liberal. Rather than insult, why not point out where you think he’s mistaken? Why the ad hominem attack? (Just in case you don’t know what that means I’m posting Dictionary dot com’s definition)

      ad hominem
      1. appealing to one’s prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s intellect or reason.
      2. attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.

  • YANKEEBILL March 2, 2015, 6:41 am


  • Michael E. Hensley March 2, 2015, 4:46 am

    UPS Store would not ship a Cylinder for a Redhawk for milling to convert to .45 ACP but FedEx did and the Postal Service says they would, The Lady at the UPS Store looked at me as if I were some sort of Criminal and she was so flustered she had trouble pronouncing the Word Gun.

    • Okie Bob March 2, 2015, 11:03 am

      You didn’t need to disclose the contents of your USPS shipment to her as long as it wasn’t a complete pistol.
      I’ll bet your comments scared this clerk. I have found that how you describe the contents when asked is to “mumbo jumbo” them such as saying a “cartridge cylinder” in your case.

      • mingpooh March 2, 2015, 1:08 pm

        Okie Bob
        He said the clerk at UPS — that’s United Parcel Service, not the post office He specifically said that the post office said it WOULD ship the cylinder. BUT your point is well taken — unless you are required to list the contents, don’t. I wonder why the company doesn’t just call them machine tools and leave it at that.

    • Glock Guru March 6, 2015, 11:24 am

      The easiest way around having to disclose what it is that you are trying to ship is to package the item and print the label at home. Also, describe what the item is made of or does, not what it is when it is finished, that will be on the gunsmith when he ships it back to you, ie. a timed high pressure cylindrical release chamber made of high quality stainless steel.

    • Jackie Robinson February 6, 2018, 4:14 am

      If I am not shipping a complete gun I list it as machine parts. If I want to ship a complete gun I disassemble it and ship it in two boxes marked machine parts.

  • Will Drider February 26, 2015, 10:47 am

    UPS HAS BEEN FINED $40 Million for illegal drug deliveries.
    FEDEX HAS BEEN CHARGED with illegal drug deliveries and is currently facing a $1.6 BILLION fine.
    Strange that they would turn down a legal item. Maybe some backdoor pressure here. GOV just got caught pressing financial instutions to stop doing business with firearms businesses. Wait for this smoking gun to surface.

  • John February 25, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Wow! Is our government out of control or what? I’m sure this is being done because of government pressure. I wonder what the secret name is for this operation. So much for the home of the free. Did you ever think it would happen here? WAKE UP this is only the beginning.

    • e holder March 2, 2015, 7:13 am

      It’s not just the oblamer admin that’s the problem here – FedEx is the main problem. They are kow-towing to dem pressure. They should be telling dems to shove it, and continuing to perform legal services.

  • John February 25, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Wow! Is our government out of control or what? I’m sure this is being done because of government pressure. I wonder what the secret name is for this operation. So much for the home of the free. Did you ever think it would happen here? WAKE UP this is only the beginning.

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