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FedEx Refusing to Ship Defense Distributed’s CNC Mill

Their argument boils down to uncertain legality, which is a completely bogus argument. There’s absolutely nothing illegal about shipping a CNC machine to anyone, in any state.

But now FedEx tells WIRED it’s too wary of the legal issues around homemade gunsmithing to ship the machine to customers. “This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals,” FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler wrote in a statement. “We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations, FedEx declined to ship this device until we know more about how it will be regulated.”

I don’t think it would be crazy tin-foil-hat speculation that it’s quite possible they are getting threats from the Administration in other areas they regulate that could hurt FedEx, if FedEx doesn’t bend to their will on the gun issue. It’s not like we haven’t seen that before.

Of course, if that’s the case, they should blow the whistle. At best, this is cowardice on the part of FedEx, and I won’t do business with them until they grow a pair and start shipping his product like they would any other CNC machine.

16 Responses to “FedEx Refusing to Ship Defense Distributed’s CNC Mill”

  1. Sevesteen says:

    Not sure I can blame them after their troubles with mail order prescription drugs. Apparently they asked for a list of who was illegal, stopped accepting shipments from anyone on the list, still got prosecuted. http://www.wsj.com/articles/fedex-indicted-for-role-in-distributing-controlled-substances-prescription-drugs-1405637242. Chances are they won’t get official word here either, but that wouldn’t stop them from being prosecuted.

    • Sebastian says:

      Yeah, but CNC machines are not in any manner regulated, nor is it regulated how they are marketed, and what they are marketed for, and who is allowed to have them.

      • SPQR says:

        Which would actually deter a lawabiding Dept of Justice.

      • Patrick says:

        You can get a similar mill from other sources for about the same price. It’s all open-source hardware and software – it’s the same steppers, boards and software. The issue is that DD openly calls it a “gun making machine”. That maybe changes things. Nobody knows because they haven’t had to deal with it before.

        So DD is selling a “gun-making machine” and asking FedEx to transport it into areas where gun-making might be or is illegal (you cannot manufacture an AR-15 lower for personal use in MD and probably other places, as well).

        Is the object itself materially different from other mills? No. But when selling it as a purpose-built gun-making device that could thwart state laws, FedEx is being asked to be the test case. Who wants to sign up for that?

        Change the name and market as a desktop CNC router/mill. Sell it on Inventables.com right next to all the other mills that can do the same thing (ahem).

        Problem solved.

        • Matt says:

          Wrong on MD, Patrick. The MSP ruled last year AR lower receivers are not banned since they can be assembled into legal configurations. So stripped lower sales resumed last year and settled the issue on whether it is legal to make your own AR lower in Maryland. There is no “grey area” anymore.

          • Patrick says:

            You can theoretically “build” an AR if the manufacturer describes the barrel as an “HBAR”, but the “HBAR” determination – outside of the “Colt HBAR” – is not statutory nor is it consistently defined when it comes to ‘copies’ of such firearms. The interpretation is subjective and has changed over time. It is actually one of the subjects under review by the 4th Circuit next month. The MSP has taken what appears to be a position that helps their arguments in federal court – but they wish for the court to agree they get to subjectively decide these things. Don’t be lulled into thinking their temporary graces won’t change if the court agrees they are sole arbiter of these issues, and if a politician asks them to hurt you.

            It’s confusing, for sure. The state, federal courts and several plaintiffs still don’t understand the definitions of what is a felony and what is not. And we expect FedEx to get it right?

            The fact that you point out a single potential configuration that might be legal (again, this is being litigated) does not change the fact that the mill could be used to make illegal arms.

            So with that out of the way, the issue Fedex Faces is that the mill is being marketed as a device that can make “ghost guns” that violate laws in several states. It can be used to manufacture firearms illegal in MD – including AR lowers.

            Fedex is in a quandary here. You don’t have to be “anti-gun” to be “anti-going-to-jail”.

            Agreed?

  2. Evets Steve says:

    I’d guess that FedEx has a 30 year plan (sooner if gas prices go higher than $20/gal) to host 3d printers at their distribution hubs. then they’d “3d-print on demand and ship local”.

    The FUD they’re starting now will be entrenched in people’s memories and they’ll be assured licenses when the government cracks down on unsafe/unregulated/ghost/pirate 3d-printers.

    “You wouldn’t 3d-print a car?”

    “If anyone can 3d-print anything, then the terrorists win.”

  3. Ian Argent says:

    According to that article,

    Wilson, whose radically libertarian group has pursued projects ranging from 3-D printed guns to untraceable cryptocurrency, says he chose to ship his Ghost Gunner machines with FedEx specifically because the company has a special NRA firearm industry membership.

    Wonder if the NRA might want to do some leaning of their own?

  4. Thirdpower says:

    I’ve not used FedEx since they started leaving my packages on top of my garbage can instead of delivering them to my door.

    • aerodawg says:

      They are some lazy sobs. They’ll drop a package at my garage where the elements can get to it rather than walk 20 steps to the covered porch

  5. Patrick says:

    DD called it the “Ghost Gunner” and that was cute but maybe not the best name, in hindsight.

    However, even though I knew of DD I did not know they were making and marketing a mini-desktop mill. Now I do, and I like it. It would go great with that 3D Printer I am looking to get.

    I don’t have interest in making any guns with it, but I learned about the product because of the rancor. So chalk it up as a marketing win, if anything else.

    Also, I’d give FedEx a chance to research this first. They are being asked to ship an item specifically marketed to making “ghost guns” (AR15s in particular). That is illegal in some states (like Maryland, in most circumstances).

    So it’s not just a mini-mill. It’s being marketed as a gun-making machine. That might have legal ramification. They don’t know – nobody knows. So give FedEx a chance to research and figure it out. Not everything is a gun-control conspiracy. I would be concerned if I were them.

    Again, DD might be better off selling these as “just mills: using another channel and a different name.

    • Matt says:

      Wrong on MD, Patrick. The MSP ruled last year AR lower receivers are not banned since they can be assembled into legal configurations. So stripped lower sales resumed last year and settled the issue on whether it is legal to make your own AR lower in Maryland. There is no “grey area” anymore.

      • Patrick says:

        I replied above, rather than double-post again.

        It’s confusing, but I explain why it’s not was cut and dried as you suspect.

        Thx.

    • Ian Argent says:

      AFAIK it’s illegal period to manufacture a firearm in NJ without a license. OTOH, that’s not a grey area in the law either; FedEx can just refuse to ship to NJ.

  6. Archer says:

    “‘This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals,’ FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler wrote in a statement.”

    Yeah?

    So are a band saw and a drill press. And any sufficient-size chunk of high-strength thermoplastic polymer or aluminum could be the next homemade gun. But I’d bet my next paycheck FedEx is still delivering all of those, along with all the other CNC milling machines on the market.

    • Zermoid says:

      Exactly, if that’s their reasoning they should also stop shipping springs, hammers, files, drills, steel and aluminum and brass in any form, pin punches, cutting oil, welding supplies of any type, any type of machine tooling, saws, knives, safety goggles, wrenches, etc and so on as they are ALL also used to build firearms.
      Just can’t take that chance……

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