The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department revealed Thursday that the gun used in the shooting at a Southern California High School that left two dead and three others wounded, had been an untraceable "kit gun," also known as a "ghost gun."
"The report on the firearm indicates that the handgun used in the assault was not manufactured conventionally and may be some form of a `kit gun' assembled by a consumer rather than a manufacturer, from pieces bought separately," according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
"We have no evidence to indicate who assembled it or bought the components," the statement added.
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told ABC7 that deputies had lawfully removed six registered guns that were owned by the shooter's father. A second search of the shooter's home by deputies turned up a "kit gun."
“The weapon used in the homicide was a kit gun,” Villanueva told ABC 7. “It was assembled from parts. It had no serial number. So it become as what is known as a `ghost gun.”'
Kit guns can be found sale at gun shows can as well as online. They're known as "80-percent guns" because according to guidelines from the ATF, so long as gun parts are not more than 80 percent completed into a working firearm, they are not legally considered a gun. That loophole allows gun retailers to sell nearly complete kits for guns as well as directions on how to find the remaining 20 percent of the firearm to complete the build.
One kit for a Glock 19 can be found online for as little as $600, just a few hundred more than what a store-bought Glock would retail for.
"So you can 80 percent is assembled already and you get the additional 20 percent -- and they're sold as a kit," Villanueva said. "You can legally buy it, assemble the weapon yourself."
The shooting at Saugus High School on Nov. 14 stunned the community of Santa Clarita, with investigators continuing to search for a motive, which has remained elusive so far. The shooter's electronic footprint and online presence are being examined by investigators so they can try and determine why the 16-year-old walked onto the campus quad and opened fire.
“We're working with some federal entities to help us unlock the cellphone to get to that information. So that's one of the challenges,” Villanueva said.
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