A lower receiver created using the Ghost Gunner machine, with gun accessories attached / YouTube/Defense Distributed

Defense Distributed made a printable 3D gun last year

A machine which creates untraceable, yet legal, “ghost guns” has sold out in the US.

A libertarian group based in Texas unveiled the product called the Ghost Gunner on Wednesday - a year after they sent shockwaves across the globe by creating a 3D printed gun which could be downloaded online.

The Ghost Gunner consists of a milling machine which connects to a PC to create the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle, the gun used to kill 26 people in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

A receiver is the part of a gun which connects the stock, barrel, magazine and other components which can easily be purchased online - and is therefore highly regulated.

To lawfully manufacture the Ghost Gunner, Defense Distributed have taken advantage of a legal loophole. While it is illegal to sell an untraceable lower receiver, making one is not.

The simple-to-use machine means users require no experience or expertise to produce weapons. More crucially, the method means the guns do not have the serial numbers which are used to trace weapons and are legally required by all commercial manufacturers.

The non-profit organisation had intended to sell 110 of the devices worth $1,200 (£750) before stopping orders, but has since sold more than 200.

On Thursday, the group tweeted that its batch of Ghost Gunners had sold out in 24 hours, but reassured customers it would begin selling the machines again in January.

The group clearly positions itself as an anti-government, libertarian activist organisation with the aim of using the freedom offered by the internet to protect what is sees as the civil and human rights of Americans.

A YouTube video by Defense Distributed mockingly advertises the Ghost Gunner by splicing together footage of an official from California warning the public against the make-shift lower receiver, news reports relaying the dangers of the machine, and footage of the milling machine in action.


On its website, the group explains how it aims to: “defend the human and civil right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court” and “to collaboratively produce, publish, and distribute to the public without charge information and knowledge related to the digital manufacture of arms.”

Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed told Wired magazine: “People want the battle rifle and the comfort of replicability, and the privacy component.”

“It's about humiliating the power that wants to humiliate you.”