The weapon used in the Saugus High School shooting that killed two students and wounded three others was a “kit gun” assembled from parts, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Law enforcement are investigating how the “kit gun” parts were gathered and assembled, and are attempting to determine whether the shooter or the his father assembled the gun. Investigators searched the suspect’s home where six firearms were found, and were all registered to the suspect’s late father, who died of a heart attack in December 2017.
“The mystery is trying to piece together who assembled what and at what point in time. Kit guns can be sold at gun shows, online and can be bought with 80% of the weapon already assembled. They’re sold as a kit. You can legally buy it, assemble the weapon yourself and then you have a gun that is not registered and no one knows that you have it, and that is very dangerous.”
— Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva
The kits are used to make a ghost gun, which is a firearm without serial numbers. By assembling the gun themselves, owners may legally bypass background checks and registration regulations. Under U.S. federal law, the creation and possession of ghost guns is permitted, but a license is required to manufacture firearms and parts for sale or distribution.
The gun’s lower receiver, which in the United States is the only part legally considered a “gun”, can be completed from an “80% receiver.” The 80% receiver completed before being sold legally without background or identity checks. Other gun components may be unregulated. 3D printers can also produce the receiver from raw materials using plastic or more durable metal.
The cities of Sacramento and Fresno and other areas in California have become hubs of ghost gun production, according to an article in the Washington Post by Sari Horwitz. The ATF speculated in 2014 that there are tens of thousands of ghost guns in California alone. Ares Armor owner Dimitri Karras working out of Oceanside, California estimates there are hundreds of thousands of unfinished receivers nationwide. Some of the receivers end up as AR-15-style assault rifles. Some criminal activity involves unlicensed operators assembling the guns and selling them.
Kit guns should not be confused with multi-purpose utility handguns that are easily packed in a hunting, camping or fishing kit. They are often .22 revolvers that are already fully assembled, and are also known as Kit guns.
Weapon used in Saugus High attack described as "ghost gun" by L.A. sheriff https://t.co/HgThX9PsXM
— KTLA (@KTLA) November 21, 2019
The teenager who shot five classmates, killing two, at a Southern California high school used an unregistered “ghost gun,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Thursday. https://t.co/rIwf9liVBY
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) November 21, 2019
Weapon used in Saugus High School shooting was a ‘ghost gun’ with no registration number, investigators say https://t.co/fZSYYH4lBs
— Pasadena Star News (@PasStarNews) November 21, 2019
^^ MOBILE? USE VOICE MIC ^^
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See also …
Horwitz, Sara. “Unfinished receivers, a gun part that is sold separately, lets some get around the law”. Washington Post (May 13, 2014). [Blocked by paywall]