After buying a kit online, Sheriff Craig Apple says it took him roughly an hour to build a so called 'ghost gun.'
“We wanted to purchase one to see what the process was,” Apple said. “They are only 80 percent complete and you get the tools and the drill bits and the instructions on how to finish the remaining 20 percent."
Unlike 3D printed guns, which Apple says usually fall apart when fired, the sheriff says ghost guns become completely functional and completely lethal once the top and bottom pieces from the kit are put together.
“These are no joke, these are the same guns officers on the street have today, this is a 40 caliber,” Apple said while displaying the weapon on his desk.
He says it's also easily available on a number of websites and totally legal to buy.
“It’s not capable of discharging a round at that point so it’s technically legal at that stage," Apple said.
Most concerning to the sheriff is that the guns are unregistered and untraceable unless the buyer opts to do so.
"Normally there is a serial number there and there is no serial number on this gun whatsoever and it’s fully untraceable,” he said.
While Apple's deputies have not encountered any shootings or cases involving ghost guns, he says he fears they could easily end up in the wrong hands.
"You can be 14-years-old, you can be a gangbanger, a felon, whatever mental health illness, whatever the case may be and you can get your hands on these and we need to close that loophole quickly,” Apple said.
Apple says he's already been in touch with federal and state leaders about changing the laws.
“It totally negates the SAFE Act, it undermines everything legal gun owners stand for,” he said.
He believes legislative action needs to be taken immediately.
“I’m a gun guy, I believe in the second amendment, I believe in the right to bear arms,” Apple said. “I also think you need to be responsible and accountable and to me this is irresponsible.”
Another factor making ghost guns harder to trace is that some of the websites, including the one Apple purchased his off of, deal exclusively with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.