As of recently, Central Florida law enforcement officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the growth of “ghost gun” kit manufacturers in the region.
In Volusia County alone, there are six gun-kit manufacturers that make parts for military-style, semi-automatic rifles. The operations of the manufacturers are legal, but what has law enforcement officials worried is the rise in the gun-kit makers business, with one manufacturer claiming to sell 100 to 150 receivers a day. The receiver is the portion of the gun that houses the trigger.
“It’s legal, but it’s almost like a loophole in the law,” Port Orange Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “We’re making it easy for the criminals. I have a concern, a huge concern over that.”
These gun parts do not require the individual purchasing the parts to have undergone a background check and the parts do not have markings or serial numbers, making them virtually untraceable. This sort of gun manufacturing is permitted by the Gun Control Act of 1968, which states that you are not required to have serial numbers on guns you make for your own personal use. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a guns lower receiver does not need to be regulated if it is less than 80 percent complete, so ghost gun kit makers stay within regulation by sending out unfinished receivers for the customer to complete at home.
Florida law enforcement are concerned that these untraceable parts will be used to build guns for crime organizations, but those in the gun industry insist that building a weapon is a skillful process and for this reason these parts are going to end up in the hands of experienced firearm owners, and serious hobbyists, not criminals.
“There is a possibility. But Joe Terrorist, he’s not a builder,” Jim Jusick told the Orlando Sentinel. Jusick co-owns Tactical Machining in DeLand, Florida.
But, officials are still skeptical considering that 100 to 150 receivers a day can mean more than 30,000 sold in a year and it’s tough to imagine that none of those are ending up in the wrong hands.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials in California have seen unmarked guns turn up at crime scenes all over the state and have recorded transactions of up to 50 receivers in a single purchase.
“When we look at the sales that have been going on —they’re selling on the Internet to people all over the country,” said Special Agent Graham Barlowe of the ATF’s field office in Sacramento. “And I just can’t imagine that there would be an exception in Florida.