SAN DIEGO - A long line of people snaked out of a North County machine shop on a recent Sunday. The customers were there to build a gun.
Customers do not get to the machine shop until after they are checked out by Ares Armor in Oceanside. Team 10 promised not to reveal the location of the actual machine shop.
Dmitri Harris runs the Ares Armor store, along with his buddies, some Marine Corps infantry veterans. The shop is busy because more people are finding out about the chance to build your own gun without having to go through any registration or government signups of any kind.
It is possible because of the Gun Control Act of 1968. It reads, "an unlicensed individual may make a firearm," but also says it has to be for personal use and cannot be for sale or distribution.
Harris warns that not everyone can build their own gun. Non U.S. citizens, felons or anyone disqualified from gun ownership cannot participate.
Read more about the 1968 law and information from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that clear up any ambiguities here, here and here. Additionally, you can read letters from the ATF here and here.
Team 10 purchased a piece of aluminum and watched as it was turned into a receiver for an AR-15. It can take four or five hours to do this, depending on how busy the shop is. Inside that machine shop is a computer-controlled milling machine that cuts out the aluminum.
What Team 10 ended up with was a receiver that can have parts added to it, such as the trigger, the barrel, the stock and the magazine. Team 10 fired the AR-15 at a nearby range when the receiver was finished and it worked just fine.
Team 10 respected the customers' request not to show their faces within the broadcast story but did get an idea of exactly who was coming in and building guns.
Jerry Tuma of Ares said they get former military coming in as well as, "high-end vehicle mechanics, reactor techs, doctors" and others. They are people who have an "appreciation for a technical job set," he said.
When asked about the issue of bad guys building these guns, Harris said it takes time and patience to build a gun and anyone interested in doing a crime "can buy a gun out of a trunk easier than going through the process."
The cost for the AR-15 can cost between $750 to $1,200, depending on the extras. It is about the same as paying retail price for the gun.