Black Rifle Ghost Gun with Proud Boys logo

Ambrosia Studios/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Inside the Proud Boys’ ties to ghost gun sales

Several Proud Boys have been selling ghost guns online.

 

Tina-Desiree Berg

Tech

Posted on Aug 15, 2022   Updated on Aug 18, 2022, 3:52 pm CDT

In April 2017, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes announced the formation of a paramilitary wing of the western chauvinist group: Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights (FOAK). It was designed for direct action and violence and headed up by Kyle Chapman, who went by the nickname Based Stickman. 

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Chapman already had multiple run-ins with the law. In 2008, he was arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) for the illegal possession of a gun as a convicted felon and for illegally selling firearms. 

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Chapman eventually pled guilty to a charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and was sentenced to 63 months in prison. The FOAK crumbled in 2018 amid mounting legal issues with Chapman and the group’s participation in the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

But it appears that some of the paramilitary aspects of the organization remain with the Proud Boys, especially when it comes to selling firearms.

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A few members of the organization have taken a shining to ghost guns, which are harder to track and easier to evade strict state and federal laws. 

The Daily Dot has discovered multiple Proud Boys in multiple states that have either been arrested for illegal gun sales or are currently selling gun parts and kits online.

Ghost guns are firearms that can be built from kits, that are often 3D-printed, and can be purchased online. They are popular with those looking to skirt background checks, and are often untraceable since the parts have no serial numbers. 

The weapons have been increasingly used in mass shootings and by domestic terrorists. A mass shooting in Santa Monica in 2013 that killed five involved a ghost gun. The assailant was denied a gun license in 2011, and instead bought the parts online and made his own. A shooting in Rancho Tehema, where five died, also involved a ghost gun. That shooter was ordered to surrender his weapons three months before purchasing gun parts online and creating two more assault rifles. 

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Though Proud Boys have been arrested and charged for selling ghost guns, none as of now have been implicated in the use of one in a crime. 

According to the ATF, there has been a ten-fold increase from 2016 in the recovery of ghost guns at crime scenes. 

Lately, a crackdown has begun. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), recently signed Senate Bill 1327. The bill authorizes a private citizen to file a civil suit against gun manufacturers and sellers, including of ghost guns.

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The Biden administration has also added new regulations

Licensed dealers must include serial numbers on split receivers that can be used to make a ghost gun. Ghost guns, Biden’s executive order announced, should “continue to be covered by our common-sense gun laws.” 

Manufacturers will also need to run background checks as they do with the sale of completed firearms. The new rules will go into effect August 24, 2022.

But in the meantime, ghost guns are flourishing, with many websites and companies catering to this market. Including one by a known Proud Boy.

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One such company, PrivilegedUSA, is owned by Sacramento Proud Boy Brandon Revering.

Revering was selling gun parts on both his website and on eBay. He is licensed by the ATF under his company Lone Wolf Weaponry as a dealer. Documents filed with California reveal Revering as the owner of Privileged USA. Documents filed with the ATF show Privileged USA is approved to sell firearms under the name Lone Wolf. 

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When reached for comment through Lone Wolf, Revering did not answer questions about selling ghost guns, instead asking the reporter if she was a “Jew.”

Prior to the Biden executive order announcement, screenshots of the site taken in April show PrivilegedUSA website had more frames, 80% receivers, parts and kits for sale than actual completed firearms. 

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At some point between late April and early May, listings for some of the 80% receivers were removed.

As of this writing, there were still viewable listings for Glock gun parts on the PrivilegedUSA. These parts include barrels, lower parts, upper parts, and trigger housings with ejectors.

An “80% receiver,” according to the ATF, is used “to describe a frame or receiver that has not yet reached a stage of manufacture to be classified as a ‘frame or receiver’ under Federal law.” 

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As of last month, Revering’s eBay store had 17 listings for parts and kits.

EBay does not allow the sale of firearms, firearm receivers, or kits used to create firearms.

The site did not respond to specific questions about Revering’s account, but said that it was “committed to maintaining a safe and trusted marketplace.”

Revering’s eBay store, appears to have since been removed after the Daily Dot reached out.

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Revering’s ties to the Proud Boys are apparent. On a website called POYApparel that hosts the shops of many Proud Boy chapters, PrivilegedUSA offers its services to build local Proud Boy websites. The Contact Us phone number for POY Apparel site is also the same as the one on PrivilegedUSA.

POYApparel, as of this writing, was offline. 

Revering has also been seen at several Proud Boy rallies wearing Proud Boy attire, including their Fall Love Fest in San Pedro in 2021. 

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Revering also recently drew attention for harassing patrons at a drag show in Woodland, California. 

At one point during the melee he was filmed calling the restaurant owner a “groomer” through his bullhorn. 

Drag shows and Pride events have increasingly become the target of right-wing extremists, and the Biden administration has warned of increased threats to the LGBTQ community, as far-right figures have stoked panic over fallacious “grooming” fears. 

One Proud boy, who isn’t Revering, brought a gun to a recent drag queen story hour in Sparks, Nevada, where several children were present.

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But Revering isn’t the only Proud Boy that has sold gun parts.

Proud Boy Jonathan M. Cuney was sentenced to 87 months in prison on December 2, 2021, for unlawfully possessing firearms, including “ghost guns,” and ammunition, according to a DOJ press release. In the release, Cuney was said to have “manufactured” guns, admitting to purchasing weapon parts online and assembling them into handguns, rifles, and silencers without serial numbers. 

Cuney has since appealed the ruling. 

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Federal agents recovered guns in two different storage units rented by Cuney located in East Greenbush, New York and Humboldt County, California. The confiscated items includes 4,250 rounds of ammunition, five machine-gun conversion kits, two completed ghost guns, at least 10 firearms, 12 silencers and kits to complete 10 more silencers, five pistol parts kits, and an assorted quantity of gun parts and kits.

At one time Cuney was legally licensed by the ATF through a company he owned named Armaments International, LLC, according to his LinkedIn profile.

While he was licensed as a firearms dealer in 2015, he was also prosecuted by Preet Bharara, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, for transporting and selling firearms with” obliterated” serial numbers. 

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According to the DOJ press release, between April 2013 and July 2014, Cuney “personally obliterated the serial numbers from firearms, and sold 22 of those firearms, including to an undercover Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.”

Another Proud Boy from Cedar Rapids Iowa, Raven Damien Burkhow, was sentenced on November 6, 2020 to 30 years in prison for dealing drugs and selling ghost guns. Specifically, “Burkhow sold a gun without a serial number, otherwise known as a “ghost gun,” with a silencer and a machine gun with an integrated silencer to the informant.”  

According to court documents, Burkhow had tattoos that showcased his affiliations with the Proud Boys. 

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During a raid on his apartment, authorities seized multiple firearms—including machine guns, a sawed-off shotgun, a pipe bomb, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and 13 silencers. They also confiscated $177,720 in cash and six gold bars. 

Burkhow also attempted to appeal his case, although those efforts were dismissed.

Whether the new rules by Biden and California affect the Proud Boys and their members selling ghost guns remains to be seen.


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*First Published: Aug 15, 2022, 3:33 pm CDT