Missouri Senate Candidate Is Giving Away a 'Ghost Gun' Machine


Austin Petersen, happy pro-gun warrior.
  • Austin Petersen, happy pro-gun warrior.

A U.S. Senate candidate vying to take down Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has an only-in-Missouri treat for one of his supporters: a Ghost Gunner 2.

The machine — which is somewhat akin to a 3-D printer, only it's capable of fashioning aluminum and not just plastic — allows users to create so-called "ghost guns" untraceable by law enforcement. There's a long waiting list to get your hands on one of these machines; prospective customers must resort to paying a $250 deposit and biding their time until 2019.

But Austin Petersen, the determinedly pro-gun Republican running in a crowded primary, got one from a donor, says spokeswoman Heather Coil. He's now taking raffle entries; on election night, a randomizer will pick one lucky winner.

Petersen is doing the giveaway to shore up his 2nd Amendment bona fides (duh!). Never mind that St. Louis has a major gun violence problem; to many Missouri voters, more guns are the solution.

“Unlike my primary opponent Josh Hawley who supports the regulation of firearms accessories, I have absolutely no compromise to offer on your Second Amendment rights,” Petersen said in a prepared release, taking a dig at the darling of the Republican establishment, who supported President Trump's effort to ban bump stocks following the Parkland school shooting. “This technology, as well as the victory of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed, are a step in the right direction towards expanding rights for gun owners in the U.S.”

Cody Wilson, of course, is the guy who took the U.S. government to court after it sought to stop him from publishing DIY gun-manufacturing instructions online. He won a settlement from the government, a big victory for the kind of custom-gun enthusiasts who might get on the waiting list for a Ghost Gunner 2.

Still, Coil cautions that Petersen isn't going crazy with his giveaway: The campaign will be subjecting the winner to background checks. "We'll do some due diligence and make sure we're fully following both federal and state laws," Coil says. Felons need not apply.

This isn't Petersen's first time to skirt the margins of society's good will when it comes to guns. The former libertarian presidential candidate previously found himself in Facebook jail after attempting to give away AR-15s on the site on two different occasions. Slapped with an eight-day ban from the site, he tweeted that his exile must be due to McCaskill's close ties with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The ban was later lifted, and Facebook ended up crafting a policy that bars gun giveaways.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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