I-TEAM: Jacksonville man accused of using 3D printer to make machine guns, other firearms from his home

Criminal complaint accuses 27-year-old of trying to sell guns he made to undercover agent

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man is accused of using a 3D printer to make machine guns and other firearms from his home.

A grand jury recently indicted Lucas Shirley.

According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, he was selling thousands of dollars’ worth of homemade weapons, and he tried to sell guns he made to an undercover agent.

This is the latest example where federal agents say people are making ghost guns — hard-to-trace firearms — and selling them illegally.

In a 28-page criminal complaint, an ATF federal agent claims Shirley, 27, was making and selling firearms out of his Northside home — including short-barreled rifles, silencers and conversion devices turning firearms into machine guns.

A confidential informant brought an undercover ATF agent to Shirley’s home, according to the complaint, and they noticed tools across the house — including “a smelting pot covered with a metallic substance on the kitchen floor and a 3D printer on the living room floor.”

The agent wrote that Shirley said he was “a firm believer that ATF does not have any business knowing what someone has in their house.”

Ultimately, the complaint shows, the three brokered a deal for $11,000 for four rifles, four silencers and a couple of pistols.

“It is legal to own machine guns in this country. It’s legal to own suppressors,” said Rob Pincus, with the Second Amendment Organization. “We do have what’s called an SOT. You get a special license, another layer of bureaucracy from the government, and you can own these things up, you pay an extra tax stamp, or you, again, go through a more extensive background check, you agree to another set of regulations, and you can own machine guns, you can own short barreled rifles, you can own suppressors.”

Pincus is a former law enforcement officer who now trains police. He is also a federally licensed firearms manufacturer. He said that while making firearms at home for personal use is legal, selling them is against the law and opens the doors for violent crimes.

“Whether we agree with the laws or not — and I certainly think a lot of the gun laws in the U.S. need to be changed and there are too many restrictions against the free exercise of our Second Amendment rights — the reality is, if you want to be in this business, you do need to have a manufacturer’s license and you need to follow the regulations of the law if you’re going to be engaged in that business,” Pincus said.

Shirley was already on a 10-year probation for trying to sell methamphetamine. JSO arrested him for that in 2018. Now, he’s facing federal charges.

The I-TEAM reached out to the ATF. Agents are still investigating and told us that Shirley is in federal custody as he awaits his day in court.

He did not have an attorney on record.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.