An 18-year-old and his grandfather have been arrested and charged for making illegal AR-15 rifles in their back garden.
East Hampton Police were alerted on Monday (16 May) to the alleged operation following a report from a concerned citizen, who said they had learned at a party that an adult 'in the neighbourhood had built an AR-15 firearm after purchasing parts online'.
After launching an investigation, authorities identified the suspect as 18-year-old Clayton Hobby and determined later he was being helped by his grandfather, Kerry Schunk.
Officers searching the scene discovered multiple 'ghost gun' AR-15 rifles in various stages of assembly, including one that had been converted to shoot fully automatic, according to a press release from the East Hampton Police Department.
Ghost guns are firearms that have been built at home, typically from kits that require owners to drill out unfinished portions of the frame in order to assemble it into a working firearm. Kits can be purchased online and do not include a serial number, making the guns harder for law enforcement to track.
Residents can build guns at home under Connecticut state law, but they are required to first acquire a serial number from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
Also on the scene were three 'ghost gun' polymer handguns, 15 high-capacity magazines and approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
Hobby was arrested and charged with possession of an assault weapon, criminal possession of a pistol, criminal possession of ammunition, manufacture of a machine gun, possession of high-capacity magazines, and risk of injury. The teen told police he purchased the weapons and tools from various websites and did not intend to hurt people, instead planning to use the weapons to protect his family.
Schunk, 64, was charged with conspiracy to commit possession of an assault weapon, conspiracy to commit possession of a pistol, conspiracy to commit possession of ammunition, conspiracy to commit manufacture of a machine gun, conspiracy to commit possession of high-capacity magazines, and interfering with an officer.
The teenager appeared in court the day after the report was first made and had his bond set at $500,000, while Schunk's was set at $25,000. The grandfather posted bond on Tuesday afternoon under the conditions that he not have any weapons or ammunition and has pre-trial supervision.
Should Hobby post bond, he must adhere to GPS tracking and a 24/7 lockdown where he is only permitted to leave for court and medical reasons. He is also prevented from possessing any guns or ammunition.
Both Hobby and Schunk are due in court again on 14 June.
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