Right now we’re driving to Pico boulevard where he shot his father, his brother, burned up his house and then was going to shoot the 2 women when I drove between them. Then he shot me, 5 times. *Music Playing* In 2013 Vices technology channel Motherboard reported on the phenomenon of 3D printed guns. Since then these guns which are made entirely of plastic have been outlawed. In order to make guns at home people are reverting back to an old school technique requiring only basic machining skills and your standard drill press. We have to tell Congress it’s time to require a background check for anyone that wants to buy a gun so that people who are dangerous to themselves and others cannot get their hands on a gun. Lets make that happen. *cheering* A recent study shows that the United States has more guns and more gun deaths than any other developed country in the world. In fact; 32 Americans die gun related deaths every day. While California has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the country there is a loophole that people are using to get around the law. According to the gun control act of 1968 it’s perfectly legal for anyone, except for convicted felons, to make guns in the comfort of their own home The thing is, these guns don’t have serial numbers and in the eyes of the government they don’t exist. So, can you tell us your name and where we are right now? I’m Dan and you’re at my machine shop in La Habra. I’m a machinist and I’ve been one for 20 years. C – What kind of stuff do you make here? D – Here we primarily make automotive components. C – And on your own time what kind of stuff do you make? D – I make guns on my own time. C – Nice. D – I made 2 AR’s, done on something like this where you have your work piece clamped to the table and I program the language to tell it where to cut. Then the tool comes down and the tool spins C – Can we take a look at your gun? D – Ya. C – Cool. What do you like best about making your own guns? D – The best part is taking a chunk of metal and making something out of nothing. You know, for me it’s not about the serial number. I swear some guys think the governments going to come and seize all the guns and use sale records to find them. I don’t think it is possible. I just wanted to make one because I could and it’s not illegal, so I did. C – We’re here at Echo Park and we’re going to talk to Senator Kevin de León who is sort of a lone voice in trying to enact some law that will regulate these guns. In 2014 California State Senator Kevin de León attempted several times to pass a bill that would seal the loophole K – To be legal under SB808, the measure that I will be introducing tomorrow in the Senate public safety committee. Ghost guns will have to be registered with the Department of Justice. There will be a serial number and a gun owner background check. The question is should individuals have the right to assemble assault weapons with no traceable number that’s not registered with the Department of Justice? Therefore law enforcement has no clue that the assault weapon exists. Individuals are assembling these high powered assault weapons, “ghost guns”, and they’re selling them to drug cartels south of the border, they’re selling them to gang members. We’ve got folks in the black market who are making a killing, no pun intended, with regards to the manufacturing of these ghost guns. This is called the lower receiver. The engine, the heart to those guns specifically is this piece of metal. [Ominous Music] C – We’re heading down to Oceanside, California. We’re going to Dimitri Karras who is the owner and operator of Ares Armor. Which is one of the biggest companies in the country selling the parts you need to make an unserialized, unregistered AR-15. Since opening shop in 2010 Dimitri Karras has been one of the most outspoken opponents of Senator de León’s policies D – Annnnnd he goes down. *laughs* C – Dimitri, can you show us some of the stuff you’ve got going on here in the case?
D – Ya, absolutely. So right here you’re going to see some of the different 80% lowers that we have available for the AR series platform. C – This is like what you’re known for? D – Absolutely ya, this is kind of our main product that has really kind of propelled the company over the last couple of years. It’s an 80% AR-15 lower receiver. C – Also known as an unfinished receiver? D – Yes.
C – Same thing?
D – Ya, ya same thing. C – Cool
D – The 80% phrase is actually just an industry term and it’s more of a marketing word, it doesn’t actually mean anything. It just means that it’s not a firearm. To give you a visual, on this actually over here is still in the 80% stage but to give a visual on where that would fit in, that’s the lower receiver, the upper receiver and then your bolt carrier group is going to be that moving piece right there. C – And so we’re talking about that right there, right? D – Yup, that’s it. So we have been building 80% lowers between me and some of my friends personally and privately. We decided to take that mainstream and try and push that out so as many other people as possibly could, could participate in a process like that. C – People can come in and buy all the parts they need and they can take them home and if they have manufacturing skills they can go home and make a gun? D – Absolutely. As you can see this is a complete block right there. You’re not going to be able to install any of the components necessary to turn this into a firearm. Umm your trigger would come out right there, your hammer is going to be inside of here. All the inner workings of your weapon are going to be in here. C – And so that is completely solid right now? All the way through? D – Completely solid all the way through. C – So you essentially have to mill out that whole thing and put the guts in? D – Drill holes through the side and then you have to drill a hole underneath there as well. C – So you’re sort of on the verge of manufacturing guns D – We’re not on the verge, it’s a very black and white and we’re very much in the white side of it. That if they had any piece of evidence or if there is any shred of… if we were doing anything illegal, trust me I would be in jail right now. I’m not their favourite person. C – Dimitri may not explicitly be breaking the law but with an arsenal of ads like this one… it’s safe to say he is walking a fine line. There are hundreds of thousands of these things out there right now and they will not be able to track them. They will not be able to find them and they exist inside of our society right now and I’m actually very proud of that. C – Do you feel like you’re making, uh, the country a better place for everyone else? D – Absolutely. An armed society is a civil society and every single time an 80% lower goes out there into the public and gets made into a personal firearm that is one less thing that the government knows about and that is one more situation that if they do try and exert too much control over the public that is something they cannot stop. I want to live in a world where a gay married couple can defend their marijuana pot farm with firearms that are fully automatic. That’s the world I want to live in. C – Are you ever worried that one of the guns made from a part that you’ve sold could fall into the hands of a psychopath…
D – A psychopath?
C – … doing something crazy? D – When somebody is carrying a gun, they have the ability to go on a shooting spree, yes. If somebody else is carrying a gun, they have the ability to stop them. But I can tell you somebody who is thinking of doing it is going to look for a target where everyone is unarmed. Let’s talk about why these shooting keep happening on school campuses. Essentially we have put them there and said you guys are fish in a barrel here and everybody knows that they are fish in a barrel. It’s like putting a big flag up on the top of your house that says “I am unarmed, you know, please come in whenever you want. Rob, rape, kill and pillage.” In an ideal world that you are protected not only for your own good but for the good of the people that are around you. Because if you can protect yourself then you can protect others. C – In Dimitri’s ideal world everybody has got guns and everybody is safe. But if you take a look at the national stats, states with the most guns per person and the loosest laws actually have the highest rates of gun related deaths. Regardless, the fact remains. If you want to get a gun and if you can’t pass a background check, you can technically make your own. And where the law stands now, no one will know about it. Which is exactly what happened in the case of John Zawahri. On June 7th 2013, John Zawahri shot and killed 5 people in the area around Santa Monica college. He used an AR-15 that he made at home using parts he bought online. Debra Fine was one of the many victims who came face to face with Zawahri on the day of the shooting. So Debra, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Can you tell us what happened that morning? D – I was shot on, first he shot me in the left shoulder and that threw me over to the side and then I was shot through the other shoulder and then I had a bullet go sideways in my chest and one took off about half of my right ear. Right now we’re driving to “Pico boulevard” where… he shot his father, his brother, burned up his house and then was going to shoot the 2 women when I drove between them. Then he shot me 5 times. I pulled up… … to the stop sign… … and on my left hand side… on the curb I saw a man with a kevlar vest and… he had um, a semi-automatic rifle and then he just stared into my eyes and he was only about 10 feet in front of my car then and so I just you know put on my accelerator really fast and then he started shooting and I was shot in the left arm and I was thrown over to the other side of the car. And he kept walking across and shooting. C – So this is the tree you crashed into? D – So… This feels so strange being here and it’s really… … It’s really hard, um… C – Well, take your time D – Okay. So my car crashed into that tree… …right there and I was just laying there and he got into the womans car and he had her drive out that way and towards Santa Monica college. We received information at the same time of a possible carjacking that may have been related to the shots fired call. Uh, and we also were receiving incoming calls regarding a series of random shootings possibly involving an automatic firearm of some type. The suspect headed toward the library and shot a woman on the campus just before entering the library, accosted a number of patrons inside the library and attempted to shoot at them. D – The police were able to catch him right after he got onto campus so he still killed 5 people. But he could have killed dozens more If I hadn’t been shot here… C – With technology advancing and access to guns becoming easier and easier, the future is bleak for people like Debra Fine, who think that fewer guns would mean less violence. There are highly charged opinions on every side of the gun control debate that keeps raging on in America. But the fact is, with the DIY gun loophole in place there are going to be people like Dimitri Karras, who are more than happy to sidestep the entire conversation. [Rock Music Outro]