San Diego Sues CNC Milling Technologists, Alleging They're Flouting California ‘Ghost Gun’ Laws

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, May 07, 2024 - 03:40 AM

Authored by Ryan Morgan via The Epoch Times,

The San Diego County government is suing the manufacturer of a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, alleging that it is being used to manufacture unserialized firearms parts.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the county by the gun-control legal advocacy group Giffords Law Center, alleges the “Coast Runner” CNC machine, marketed by Coast Runner Industries, Inc., is simply a rebrand of the “Ghost Gunner” CNC machine previously developed and marketed by Defense Distributed and Ghost Gunner Inc.

Gun rights activist and technologist Cody Wilson has been working for years against gun control efforts by expanding access to the tools necessary to produce firearms at home. He has used his non-profit, Defense Distributed, as a platform to pioneer technological advancements in the manufacture of firearms using both 3D-printing and CNC technology.

Individuals are not prohibited under federal rules and regulations from producing firearms for their personal use, but gun control proponents in several states have sought to prevent the proliferation of unserialized privately-made firearms, which they’ve referred to as “ghost guns.”

While gun control advocates have attempted to stop the spread of “ghost guns,” Mr. Wilson and Defense Distributed have worked to ensure home manufacturing of firearms remains accessible with the development of its “Ghost Gunner” line of CNC machines.

California Law and CNC Machines

In 2022, the Democrat-supermajority California legislature passed legislation that makes it unlawful to sell or transfer any “CNC milling machine that has the sole or primary function of manufacturing firearms to any person in this state, other than a federally licensed firearms manufacturer or importer.”

Following the passage of the 2022 law, the Ghost Gunner sales website states, “Ghost Gunner CNC machines are not currently available to non-FFL California customers.” But after Defense Distributed and Ghost Gunner restricted sales of its machines in California, a new company called Coast Runner emerged, marketing a similar CNC machine.

The new lawsuit names Coast Runner Industries Inc., Ghost Runner Inc., and Defense Distributed as defendants.

“The ‘Coast Runner’ and the ‘Ghost Gunner’ share more than just similar rhyming names. The ‘Coast Runner’ is in fact the Ghost Gunner with a new coat of paint,” the San Diego County lawsuit states.

It has the same internal designs, the same features, and is being marketed for the same purpose: the illegal production of untraceable ghost guns. Moreover, it is being sold and marketed by the same company, as public records show that Coast Runner Industries, Inc. is merely an alter ego of Ghost Gunner Inc. and Defense Distributed.”

A marketing video for the latest iteration of the “Ghost Gunner” CNC machine shows it being used for what appear to be firearm frames and receivers, and the sales website for the machine makes clear that it is “optimized for machining AR-15 and AK-47 receivers.” By contrast, marketing videos and materials for the “Coast Runner” emphasize its cutting power and precision.

San Diego County’s legal complaint notes that the “Coast Runner” made an appearance earlier this year at the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show, a trade show hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

The lawsuit also notes that individuals who previously worked with Ghost Gunner and Defense Distributed have gone on to work with Coast Runner Inc.

Defendants flout California law with too-cute-by-half sales and marketing tactics. The Coast Runner is not a joke-it is an illegal device designed, marketed, and sold to enable its users to make firearms and to violate California’s gun violence prevention laws,” the complaint states.

“Plaintiff brings this suit to put an end to Defendants’ flagrant violations of California law and to seek remedy for the harm Defendants have caused and are continuing to cause in California.”

California ‘Doesn’t Have the Nerve to Ban CNC’: Wilson

The legal complaint seeks a judgment finding all defendants to be in violation of California law and seeks a civil penalty of as much as $25,000 per alleged violation of the California law prohibiting sales of CNC machines for firearms manufacturing, along with an award of “reasonable damages” to the state.

Mr. Wilson insisted Defense Distributed remains in compliance with California law.

“Defense Distributed follows California law with great effort,” he told NTD News in an emailed statement.

“The state doesn’t have the nerve to ban CNC, so they ban speech about the technology.”

Mr. Wilson declined to offer further comment on the lawsuit as he and his legal team prepare to respond.

NTD News also contacted Coast Runner for comment, but did not receive a response by press time.