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Newsweek: Agents Recover Thousands of Bullets, 3D Printer and Ghost Guns From Convicted Felon's Residence

According to Newsweek, a Washington state man with “at least seven prior felony convictions” was arrested for violating the federal prohibition on ammunition ownership by convicted felons. A 3D printer, a drill press, and “around 17 pistols and 24 rifles, most of which appeared home-manufactured and lacked serial numbers” were found at his home.

The Newsweek piece by Asher Stockler, which can be read in full here, reports that:

  • Nathan Seman Brasfield “has at least seven prior felony convictions, including a prior conviction on the same charge that led to his arrest Thursday.” 
  • Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) found “firearm manufacturing equipment” and “around 17 pistols and 24 rifles, most of which appeared home-manufactured and lacked serial numbers” at his residence. A “3D printer and a drill press” were also recovered. 
  • Brasfield’s roommate told ATF that he owned the firearms with serial numbers, “but that the serial number-lacking weapons were Brasfield’s, suggesting those firearms were homemade.”

Ghost guns like the ones found at Brasfield’s residence—both those made with a 3D-printer (downloadable guns) and those made from DIY kits—are a rising problem for law enforcement across the country. 

Downloadable ghost guns: Since downloadable gun schematics were first posted online in 2013, they have begun to show up in the hands of criminals. In February of 2019, for example, a Texas man was sentenced to 8 years in prison after officers caught him with a partially 3D-printed AR-15 rifle and a list of lawmakers’ addresses in his backpack, despite being banned from owning a firearm due to a violent altercation with a live-in girlfriend. Ignoring these dangers, the Trump administration moved in January to allow downloadable gun schematics to be posted online, thus making it easier for convicted felons, domestic abusers, and terrorists to 3D print their own guns. 21 attorneys general are suing to block the Trump administration from doing so, and they are seeking a preliminary injunction in court today.  

DIY ghost guns: DIY ghost guns are made from building blocks that are currently unregulated by the ATF and are readily available for purchase without a background check or serial number. According to a recent report, the ATF estimates that 30 percent of guns recovered in California in connection with crimes have no serial number and are therefore untraceable. Ghost guns have also been used in high profile crimes, including the recent school shooting at the Santa Clarita, California high school; last year’s mass shooting in Midland and Odessa, Texas; and a mass shooting with an AR-15 ghost gun that left five dead on a college campus. In December, Everytown for Gun Safety called on the ATF to use its existing power to clarify that ghost gun parts should be regulated like firearms and thus subject to a background check.