Ghost Guns: Assault-style rifles built at home

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Lethal, untraceable, and legal. More and more people are building guns in their own homes with no strings attached.

Law enforcement refers to them as Ghost Guns. With a few clicks online, you can fill your shopping cart with every part needed to build an assault-style rifle. There is no identification needed, no background check, and no serial number.

"They sell that to you. It's completely legal. You buy it without an FFL (Federal Firearms License)," said Pedro Ortiz, Ortiz Custom Guns. "You don't have to be background checked to buy one of those because one of those is not a gun. It's not a gun. It's not a gun yet."

You still have to make it. For an assault rifle, that takes a few days. However, Ortiz showed WTOC how easy it is to put together a glock. Ortiz built the gun in less than five minutes but says doing it that quickly is not normal for the average Joe.

"It's not that easy to make. It's not that easy. You have to have certain skills in order to complete one of those 80 percents," Ortiz said.

"But you know people who have done it," we asked him?

"Oh yeah," he said.

One man rented space in the building of Ortiz's gun shop.

"He decided to make one or two of those. He's serving 15 years in jail right now."

That's because he tried to sell the guns. It's legal to make assault-style weapons, but illegal to sell Ghost Guns.

Ortiz says it's imperative people know, "You can build it. You cannot sell it."

The ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives within the Department of Justice, is familiar with these cases here in Savannah, and is locking people up seeking to sell fully-automatic, untraceable machine guns for cash.

Mom's Against Violence, a local activist group supports owning a gun, but in the right way.

"I'm a gun owner. I fully support the second amendment. I like to shoot my gun. It's not a problem," said Lindsey Donovan. "What I do have a problem with is people having that type of technology and it being in the wrong hands."

Donovan has friends that build guns as a hobby, but they're old-fashioned rifles and antique pistols.

"This is not a hobbyist thing. This is creating 9 millimeters, this is creating AR-15's. This is creating very dangerous stuff. If you are that law-abiding, in my opinion, then you would go buy one, and have a background check done."

For Ortiz and Donovan, Ghost Guns are likely to be the wrong gun in the wrong hands, every time.

"It does bother me, really bother me, that a convicted felon can do this," Ortiz said.

So far, Georgia has no plans to restrict the sale or ownership of "ghost guns."

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