Government & Politics

GOP Senate candidate in Missouri giving away machine to make ‘untraceable’ AR-15s

AR-15: The Gun Behind So Many Mass Shootings

The AR-15 assault rifle is commonly used in mass shootings in the United States. Here's a closer look at likely reasons why.
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The AR-15 assault rifle is commonly used in mass shootings in the United States. Here's a closer look at likely reasons why.

A long-shot Missouri candidate for the U.S. Senate is giving away a device that can “build an untraceable AR-15” in an effort to boost his campaign against Republican rivals.

“Your right to bear arms is a fundamental, unalienable right protected by the Second Amendment,” a post on Austin Petersen’s campaign website says. “The government has no power to take away your means of self-defense.”

Petersen, of Kansas City, is running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Voters will go to the polls in less than two weeks to determine which Republican will run against incumbent U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, this fall.

This is not the first time Petersen has held some sort of contest with a firearm-related prize, and he’s not the only candidate to hold such a giveaway, but this prize is different. The Ghost Gunner 2 allows a user to build the body of a gun. Such “ghost guns” have no serial numbers, and Petersen’s campaign bills them as “untraceable.”

The giveaway comes after the Trump administration settled with Texas-based Defense Distributed to allow the company to distribute its plans for 3-D printed guns online. Starting Aug. 1, users will be able to download plans for firearms and print them with a 3-D printer, according to the Idaho Statesman.

“This technology, as well as the victory of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed, is a step in the right direction towards expanding rights for gun owners in the U.S.,” Petersen said in a release announcing the giveaway.

According to Wired, the Ghost Gunner 2 manufactures the lower receiver of the gun, which is essentially the body and has the serial number. Someone legally barred from buying a gun could manufacture their own lower receiver using the device and purchase all other parts, including the barrel and chamber, with little regulation, the tech news website says.

Petersen was temporarily banned from Facebook last fall for live-streaming a raffle to give away an AR-15 rifle.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, retired Air Force pilot Tony Monetti and Navy veteran Courtland Sykes are also running for the Republican nomination.