FedEx Refuses to Ship Personal “Ghost Gunner” CNC Mill
OutdoorHub Reporters 02.25.15
3D-printing pioneer Cody Wilson wowed DIY enthusiasts and home gunsmiths alike last October when he unveiled a personal CNC mill that could complete 80 percent AR-15 lower receivers. Marketed for the comparatively low price of $1,200, the portable toaster-sized mill was named the “Ghost Gunner,” a jab at the term that some lawmakers use for firearms that are homemade or otherwise self-assembled. Though interest in the mill has been high, Wilson and his company Defense Distributed may find some difficulty in shipping the devices. FedEx recently announced that it will not be shipping the mills, and that Wilson will have to find another shipping service.
“In February, I began pursuing business-to-consumer fulfillment rates from Federal Express to ship my product because I was a member of their FedEx Advantage/NRA Business Alliance program. I understood that the company held itself out as catering to the firearms industry with special rates,” Wilson wrote in a press release. “Two weeks ago FedEx, through my account executive, began demurring on the rates and expressing uncertainty as to the legal status of my product. I assured them there was no controversy and showed them legal memos from my GCA firm in DC and other memos and facts confirming that the product and its related activity are not regulated or restricted by the ATF or federal law.”
Wilson stated that FedEx did finally get back to him, and their answer was no.
“Now FedEx has told me that they will NOT ship my product at all, and though they will not give me a reason in writing, they have told Wired.com that it is because my machine allows an individual to make a gun,” Wilson wrote.
In his comments to Wired, FedEx spokesperson Scott Fielder summarized the company’s doubts about Wilson’s device.
“We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments,” Fielder said. “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.”
Nothing about the Ghost Gunner or what it can do makes the device illegal. The purchase, sale, use, and transfer of the personal mill is perfectly legal under federal law, as is the ownership of “unregistered” AR-15 lowers. FedEx has historically had a supportive stance on shipping firearms and firearm parts, yet Wilson speculated that the company may be scared off by the ambiguity of a machine that can manufacture homemade guns.
“I am writing today because I feel you should know that FedEx is uncomfortable with the constitutionally protected right to make a rifle free from government surveillance. They may cater to the firearms industry, but they have a specific antipathy to the non-commercial acquisition of firearms,” Wilson stated, adding that he will find an alternate way to ship the device.
Wilson has had more than his share of controversy before, especially when it comes to the subject of 3D-printed firearms. In 2013, Wilson made what is believed to be the world’s first fully 3D-printed pistol, which quickly led to his website being shut down by the US Department of Defense Trade Controls and the design files for the pistol removed. Wilson, a staunch Second Amendment advocate, says that he views digital manufacturing as the next big step for the firearms industry.