From KCBD Texas:

FBI /ATF investigating after executing search warrant at Lubbock home, apparently in connection with Midland/Odessa shootings

FBI and the ATF are still investigating after serving a search warrant in the 3400 block of Mesa Road in Lubbock, across from the Lubbock Country Club, apparently in connection with the Midland/Odessa shootings from Saturday.

We’re still waiting on official confirmation, but we believe this search is related to the manufacture and sale of the AR-15 used in the Midland/Odessa shootings.

The search was conducted around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that law enforcement is investigating a person of interest in Lubbock, suspected of illegally manufacturing and selling the rifle used in Saturday’s mass shooting in Midland/Odessa.

From the New York Post:

Cops identify man who allegedly sold illegal gun to Texas shooter Seth Ator

Investigators believe the suspect sold gunman Seth Ator the rifle in a private sale that allowed him to purchase the weapon without undergoing a background check, according to the report.

Authorities believe the man was illegally buying parts for guns, assembling a single firearm and then reselling it, the Journal reported.

The NYT article is still behind the paywall and I don’t have more details than that.

The term “manufacture” is a little dubious when it comes to media reporting.  I don’t know if this was truly a case of manufacturing, i.e., finish machining a lower and building it into a gun.  Or if it was simply assembly using parts kids and stripped lowers.

Either way, doing that with the intent to sell without an FFL is a violation of Federal law.

So with all the hand wringing about this shooter buying a gun through a private sale that would have been stopped with a UBC, does anybody honestly believe that a guy who was knowingly illegally dealing in firearms would have performed a background check before selling it?

What I can see happening is, depending on how this guy manufactured this gun, a call for bans on unfinished receivers (cue comments about 80% Sten receivers at Home Depot) or bans on stripped lowers and such.

Again, we have a situation where the “do something” talking point du jour would have been totally ineffective at stopping the shooting.

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By J. Kb

4 thoughts on “Just to confirm, UBCs would not have stopped the Odessa shooting because criminals won’t obey the law”
  1. Now… wait a second here!

    Are you telling me that the guy assembling this gun would not have self reported the sale if there was a UBC law in place?

    Wow…. this is my shocked face….

  2. The angle I’m seeing here is the seller was assembling rifles (yeech, a lower is already a firearm!) and reselling them with intent to engage the business of selling firearms.Which would require the seller having an FFL and using 4473 background checks.

    We all know that selling one’s personal firearms is not engaging in the firearms business and is lawful without a designation of FFL. We’ve seen this play out for 30+yrs or at least since 1968.

  3. This is a language game that we are all playing. I read the source article yesterday before the related information come through.

    “He bought his assault rifle in a private sale” and I immediately thought “Ugh, some poor sucker sold this gun to the murder and now he feels responsible. The gun grabbers finally have that one *gotcha* moment where the UBC would have stopped the sale.”

    Then my second thought came out. Hmmm, I wonder if this is the sort of “private sale” that goes down in the streets of Chicago all the time. Where some hard working felon is selling the guns he bought from two-bit hoodlums that stole the gun in the first place.

    Now it seems that it was likely a felony gun manufacturing situation. Where somebody was buying 80% lower, spending a little bit of time to make a functional receiver then slapping parts on it.

    The problem with attempting to ban chunk-o-aluminum (7075) is that there is *ALWAYS* some point at which it is just a chunk-o-aluminum and that one extra cut, hole, scribe mark turns it into a firearm.

    Just looking at a lower receiver there is very very little that is impossible to machine on a manual mill. I wouldn’t want to do it, but I’m sure that somebody could put together an instruction document that said “starting with a block of 7075 Aluminum x by y by z, locate and mark a hole here. Then do this.

    With a modern DRO I’m pretty sure that the instructions would be good enough to make a functional lower receiver. The only machining operation that is painful is the mag well. That has to be hand finished as the corners are very tight.
    (On the other hand, it is 0.125 Dia, and I do know you can buy long reach bits and mills so even that is not difficult)

    1. Yes, I know the job can be done on a manual mill. I would have a hard time doing it, but that’s because I haven’t learned how. But I learned it can be done from Arne Boberg, who described building one of his first prototypes of his innovative XR-9 pocket pistol in his basement on his Bridgeport mill.
      Never mind that the job would be quite a lot easier with a CNC mill. That could be one tailored for this sort of job (like the Ghost Gunner) but just as well a small hobbyist mill (like Sherline, if that one is big enough, or Grizzley) or more serious machines like Tormach.
      For that matter, while low end 3d printers don’t produce structurally adequate pieces, higher end machines do. I think small CNC machines are still less expensive but the difference isn’t all that large any more.
      It would be good to publish the CNC coding for selected receivers in printed book form. That idea came from the famous PGP encryption program, using the notion that most judges understand 1st amendment protection of books and are not so likely to favor book bans.

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