Gabby Giffords’ gun control organization is angling to pull the plug on websites that sell do-it-yourself gun kits, commonly known as “ghost guns.”
Citing a recent shooting in Tehama County, CA, the group asked those internet service providers to shut down the popular providers of 80 percent receivers.
“The recent mass shooting in Northern California underscored how dangerous it is when people legally prohibited from owning guns can go online and buy do-it-yourself assault weapon kits from unaccountable companies with no background checks, and no questions asked,” said Adam Skaggs, Chief Counsel at Giffords Law Center, in a press release.
“But companies like Ghost Gunner and Ghost Guns are profiting from doing just that. The Internet Service Providers hosting their websites are contractually entitled to shut these dangerous websites down, and they can, and should, do so.”
The letters sent by Giffords make the following claims and suggestions:
- The Internet Service Providers’ policies prohibit their customers from engaging in illegal activities and promoting illegal activities by consumers, and they allow the ISPs to shut down the websites they host at will
- The ISPs should disable the websites, which sell deadly, unlawful products
- Online purchases from the websites allows purchasers to avoid requisite background checks and to make firearms that cannot be traced by law enforcement
- The websites’ products are illegal in multiple states, and aid and abet violations of state law by their customers
But the proprietors of Ghost Gunner and GhostGuns.com are pushing back against these specious remarks. Reminding the public that their businesses are perfectly legal and promising to sue Giffords should it come to that.
“If and when Shopify should act against me as a result of this libelous attack, we’ll find out how good their [Giffords] legal team is,” said Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, in an email to GunsAmerica.
Wilson’s responsible for creating the Ghost Gunner, a CNC mill that allows users to finish 80 percent lowers with ease. He also set the internet on fire when he introduced the Liberator, a 3D-printable gun, in 2013.
Kyle Martin, the president of Ghost America LLC, which runs GhostGuns.com, had the following Q&A with the NY Times. Of course, the NY Times didn’t run his answers in full. He sent them to GunsAmerica so his entire response could be heard.
NY Times: Is what you’re doing illegal as the Gifford Law Center claims?
Kyle Martin: The Gifford Law Center claims that we are violating terms of service as well as implying that building your own firearm is an “illegal, deadly behavior.” This is incorrect. We follow all State and Federal laws as applicable. DreamHost is aware of our business and has received documentation supporting the fact that what we do is completely legal. We fully believe in the 2nd Amendment and the complete freedom of the American people to continue building our own firearms and will continue to do business as usual.
NY Times: What kinds of customers do you interact with? Do you take any precautions with your transactions?
Kyle Martin: We deal with a lot of customers that are hobbyists, the majority of customers we have come into contact with already own firearms, have the mechanical skills to complete the manufacturing process, and come from all walks of life, including many military and law enforcement. We only ship to shipping addresses that match billing addresses along with a signed receipt of delivery so the packages are not just sitting on doorsteps. Our primary mission to educate people on gun ownership through the building process. To further this goal we will be holding free gun building and safety classes at our new retail Riverside, CA location when it opens in January of 2018.
The idea of a ghost gun may make some gun owners squeamish. I get it. The idea of a criminal enterprise manufacturing ARs by the dozen is unsettling. Yet, let’s be honest about it. Criminals have no issue procuring firearms. They never have. Between the dark web, theft, straw purchasers, getting a gun for them is easy. In fact, probably the most difficult way for them to obtain one nowadays would be to build it.
Like the war on drugs has failed to stop widespread drug abuse, gun control has failed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. What it has succeeded at, though, is disarming law-abiding citizens. Slowly but surely, gun rights in states like New York, California, Connecticut are evaporating.
Because the end goal of government is to disarm the masses, ghost guns are a safeguard against that agenda. They are a way to ensure that our right to keep and bear arms doesn’t go the way of the dinosaurs. They are a political statement to the ruling class, as Cody Wilson said in an interview with Glenn Beck in 2013, “This is a symbol of irreversibility. They can never eradicate the gun from the earth.”
Yes, ghost guns, at their core, represent all of that. But for now, and the foreseeable future, they’re a fun way for hobbyists and collectors to spend an afternoon.