FedEx and UPS are refusing to ship ‘Ghost Gunner’ computer controlled mills which are capable of producing AR-15 lower receivers for private citizens.
FexEx and UPS have recently announced that they will not be shipping the new computer controlled mill, marketed by Defense Distributed as the Ghost Gunner. These mills are approximately 1 cubic foot in size, cost about $1,500 each, and allow the user to carve aluminum objects to very precise dimensions.
Though they are capable of producing a variety of objects, the Ghost Gunner is marketed as being perfect for producing AR-15 lower receivers without serial numbers. When combined with other parts that can be easily and legally purchased separately, the Ghost Gunner allows private individuals to produce an affordable, custom made, completely untraceable, and 100% legal AR-15 rifle.
When contacted for comment, FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler said that:
This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals. 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.
However, Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA states that:
This is not that problematic. Federal law does not prohibit individuals from making their own firearms at home, and that includes AR-15s.
Legal note: while it may be legal in some jurisdictions to produce firearms at home, they may be produced for personal use only and may NOT be sold.
However, while there may be nothing illegal about the Ghost Gunner, FedEx and UPS are afraid that shipping it could be a potentially politically dangerous move down the line. This decision is not unprecedented by them. For instance, FedEx will not ship marijuana, even though it is legal in a growing number of states.
The Ghost Gunner is a vexing case for the shipping companies because while it could theoretically be used to make virtually anything, it is specifically designed and marketed to produce an accessory for firearms. Proponents of the Ghost Gunner are crying foul and stating that FexEx and UPS are demonstrating political bias against the gun industry in general, and the Ghost Gunner in particular.
Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, states that:
They’re acting like this is legal when in fact it’s the expression of a political preference. 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.
However, the reality of the situation appears to be that as much as FedEx and UPS do not want to be involved in digital DIY gunsmith work, the genie is out of the bottle. As technology like the Ghost Gunner and other 3-D printers becomes more affordable and more common, it is going to be more and more difficult to separate a regular 3-D printer from one that is designed to produce a firearm.
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