FRANKLIN, Ind. — A Franklin man faces federal charges after investigators say he made and sold so-called “ghost guns,” including a part to make the gun automatic.

In court documents in the case against Alexander Clark, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says they started an investigation into the illegally making and selling of privately-made firearms in May.

A confidential informant for the Columbus Police Department was used to make several controlled purchases. The document said during the first purchase, the informant told Clark about being a convicted felon and domestic abuser.

During that first buy, the document said Clark gave the informant a privately-made Glock-style pistol with no serial number, and a 3D printed AR-15 style lower receiver. The informant said Clark told them that the lower receiver was a fully-automatic machinegun, and by pulling the trigger one time it would fire all rounds. The informant also got a holster for the pistol.

The document said the lower receiver was marked “Anderson Firearms Model 5.56 Hellfire Made in Texas or Not at All,” and the other side of the lower receiver was marked, “When Demons Come, Bring on the Hellfire.”

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana says 3D printed firearms of this type are untraceable and are referred to as “ghost guns.” These are unserialized, privately-made firearms. Because they don’t have serial numbers, they are impossible for law enforcement to trace through the ATF National Tracing Center.

The office said ghost guns are increasingly recovered by law enforcement at crime scenes across the country.

About a week later, the document said the informant told police that Clark could build another handgun, and requested pre-payment to buy the needed materials. The informant met with Clark to make the down payment and told police that Clark had several handguns in the room where Clark took them.

The document said Clark told the informant that he had a switch that he was having difficulty getting to work properly, and showed them an example. Eventually, Clark met with the informant and gave them the privately-made firearm.

The ATF examined the lower receiver and the document said the function tested as a fully automatic machinegun.

On Monday, police and the ATF searched Clark’s home. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana said they found approximately 30 firearms including several 3D printed firearms, several “Glock switches” used to convert firearms into machine guns, a suspected fully automatic AR-15 rifle, 3D printing filament, a laptop with a Glock frame on the screen connected to a 3D printer, and a silencer.

The office said Clark does not have a Federal Firearms License that would let him sell firearms. He has also not registered the weapons in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record as is required for this category of firearms. 

Clark was charged with dealing firearms without a license, possession and/or transfer of machine guns, and manufacturing machine guns. If convicted, Clark faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

The office said the case was part of the Department of Justice’s National Ghost Gun Initiative. The initiative was launched in February 2022 in response to the proliferation of ghost guns and the growing number of criminals who unlawfully use or possess these untraceable weapons.