Congress Looking to Ban ‘Ghost Gun’ Machinery


Congress Looking to Ban 'Ghost Gun' Machinery

Mills and drill presses have been around for a while, and pending legislation would ban any from private ownership that falls under a broad definition approved by a gun-control group. (Photo: Library of Congress)

Democrats on Capitol Hill have introduced a bill championed by anti-gun advocates to strictly regulate machines designed for the manufacturing of firearm frames or receivers.

The measure, titled the “Stop Home Manufacture of Ghost Guns Act of 2020,’’ would ban ownership of what the bill terms a “firearms manufacturing device” unless the tool is in the hands of a federally licensed firearm maker or of a business that produces such machines for use by FFLs.

Confusingly, the broad new definition to be added to federal code would place the regulation on “a device designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be used primarily to make or convert a product into, a frame or receiver for a firearm, and any combination of parts designed or intended for use in making” such a device.

While it could be argued by the bill’s sponsors that the measure is aimed at high-profile desktop milling machines like the Ghost Gunner and similar devices, it should be pointed out that there are dozens of different brands of hobbyist-level mini CNC machines for sale both online and at hardware outlet chains such as Harbor Freight that can be used in an array of metal and polymer fabrication work to include producing firearm frames or receivers. This suggests the bill’s sponsors may not be aware of what they are trying to accomplish, or, worse, are being coy with the scope of the legislation.

Moreover, such mills are not even needed in many cases. A variety of 20th Century firearms, such as STEN guns and the Luty SMG were specifically designed to be crafted in garage-level workshops with simple handtools. Guns such as the AK have had their receivers made from a shovel in recent years. Today, a host of commercially-available 3D printers can produce a range of polymer or, through metal sintering, aluminum firearm frames. These plans are widely shared.

Further, while NFA rules apply to home-built guns, firearms outside of NFA restrictions can legally be made by anyone who can possess them under the law.

With that being said, it is unsure just what a “firearms manufacturing device” may be under the proposed bill, a definition that could be far in scope and, like most gun control regulations, have little actual effect on crime. Nonetheless, the bill’s backers are sure that they are on the right track when it comes to adding a new law to the books.

“It is time for Congress to ban ghost guns and the flourishing traffic in the technology which manufactures them,” said the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat publically endorsed by Everytown last week. Everytown plans to spend $60 million on the 2020 elections.

The bill, entered as H.R. 7468 and referred to the Democrat-controlled House Committee on the Judiciary, also has the fast support of Giffords.

“We must stop the proliferation of these easy to make, untraceable guns that can be obtained with no background check, “Adzi Vokhina, Giffords Federal Affairs Director, contends. “Clamping down on the milling machines that make it virtually effortless to create an arsenal of untraceable weapons from a basement or garage is a good place to start.”


  1. You can have my Dremel when you take it from my cold, dead hands. (Not to mention my collection of files, rasps, reamers and hacksaws…)

  2. Congress should address the root cause, bad thoughts.
    Bad actions are always preceded by BAD THOUGHTS!
    I’m sure that our infinitely wise congresscritters could agree on a short (2,500 or so) list of BAD THOUGHTS!
    Pass a law making those illegal and all our problems would be solved.

  3. Follow the money…

    Guarantee you that most of the assholes voting for this take money from China, and were the ones behind most of the off-shoring of our industry.

    The idiots are cluelessness personified, in any event. You can’t outlaw tools and toolmaking; end of the day, the only way to prevent weapons manufacture is to stop all manufacturing and fabrication in the country, reducing us to rocks.

    Which we will then use to bash in heads with, and flake off to make knives.

    • Makes me wonder when some jackwagon in Congress wants to ban hand files.

      People who have never really seen guns made “old school” style don’t know what can be done with a rack of hand files. Everyone thinks “Oh, it would take forever! to make a gun with a hand file.

      Wrong. People think that because they know nothing about hand files. There are hand files that can rip metal off a workpiece at a very high rate, if you have a heavy enough workbench, a solid enough vise and a man pushing the file with enough upper body strength.

      The barrels on fine British shotguns used to be made from a piece of steel, then drilled through the length of the blank with a hand drill. Then, when the drilling got close, they’d “spill bore” the barrels with a piece of hand file steel that had cutting edges ground onto the narrow edges of the file. The flat sides of the file would have pieces of wood glued to them to hold the file centered in the hole. And this would be turned into the undersized bore hole and turned by hand with a big “T” handle. This way, you could get a final bore dimension that was clean, smooth and accurate.

      Then the outside of the barrel would be struck with a file. The guys who struck barrels were expected (I was told by Jack Rowe) to produce eight (8) finished barrels per day. They’d file the outside of the barrels to near final dimension – only the polishing was left to do. Eight barrels a day – hand-filed in to profile and dimension, leaving about 0.005 to 0.008″ for polishing.

      The breech block of a fine shotgun would be a block of steel that was milled, but only so far. The final dimension was achieved with hand files and polishing. The “balls” at the rear of the barrel? They were roughed in from the block of steel with a cape chisel.

      I’m laying all of this out to point this out: Those shotguns, made mostly by hand, used to sell for prices over $20K in today’s dollars. They were called “best guns” because they were the best craftsmanship you could buy in the market. They used damn few machine tools to make them. It was the care and skill that made them “best guns” – not machines.

      With the same sort of tools and techniques, you can go the other way, too. The gunsmiths of Darra Adam Khel seem able to get by without many machines today. And while they don’t make “fine” guns, they certainly make functional ones, and they do it in pretty large numbers. Every time I watch videos of the gunsmiths of Darra Adam Khel, I’m blown away at how they can work metal with a hand file on a workpiece held in a vise laying on the ground. I just cannot fathom how they do it. But they do.

  4. When I went and looked at the proposed legislation and the stupidity embodied in it, two thoughts popped into my head:

    1. The only people who are able to achieve this level of stupidity are Ivy League graduates. A little bit of checking and I find that the author of this legislation has a BA from Harvard and a JD from Harvard Law School. I nailed that on the first try.

    Harvard is a veritable factory of confident stupidity. The typical Harvard grad is nearly always wrong, but rarely in doubt. And as epically stupid has HLS graduates are, Harvard Business School churns out even more confident, even more stupid people.

    2. And then I thought “This obsessed about banning guns so as to ban machines that can be used to make them? Must be Jewish. Only lefty Jews want to ban guns that obsessively.” And I was right again.

    This sort of stupidity reminds me of Howard Metzenbaum, the late US Senator from Ohio, who said in a rare moment of truth: “I don’t care about crime. I just want to get the guns.”

    • Good fisking.

      The bottom line, which those of us here understand, is that this stuff just isn’t that hard to a self-starter with a very basic toolkit. As usual, it comes down to intent, which is impossible to regulate.

      Men were making deadly weapons in this country in the time when they were still hacking it out of the wilderness. Men in places like the Darra Adam Khel and the Philippines are doing it today.


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