A group founded by Gabrielle Giffords, the former representative from Arizona who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, is calling on two internet service providers to disable websites that sell materials and tools to create homemade weapons known as ghost guns, reports the New York Times. The websites, ghostgunner.net and ghostguns.com, allow customers to bypass background checks and build legal, unregistered firearms without serial numbers. Adam Skaggs, chief counsel of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, cites growing incidents of violence perpetrated “by precisely the sort of people who are prohibited from buying the weapons.” Ghost guns were used in a mass shooting in Northern California this month.
Buying a fully assembled gun is a process subject to a host of regulations and restrictions, especially in states that are more stringent. But anyone can make a gun at home, and do-it-yourself is favored by some gun enthusiasts. It can also be a path to gun ownership for felons, people with mental illnesses, or those convicted of domestic violence. The weapons have become a pressing problem in countries with strict gun control, such as Australia. Kyle Martin, president of Ghost Guns, said his company follows all state and federal laws. A spokesman for Ghost Gunner called the Giffords Center initiative “an attempt to apply pressure to deplatform a legal, American business selling legal products to law-abiding customers.” DreamHost, which hosts ghostguns.com, said the legality of the website’s content was being reviewed. A spokeswoman for Shopify, the web host for ghostgunner.net, said the company will “investigate material reported to us and take action” if a merchant violated its policies.