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July 1, 2022 12:42 pm
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Ohio Security Guard Who Threatened Jewish School Arrested for Making Untraceable ‘Ghost Guns’

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Parts of a ghost gun kit are on display at an event held by U.S. President Joe Biden to announce measures to fight ghost gun crime, at the White House in Washington U.S., April 11, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Federal law enforcement agents have arrested a ex-Ohio National Guardsman for manufacturing and selling untraceable “ghost guns” with a 3D printer.

Thomas Develin — whom local authorities previously arrested for threatening to commit a mass shooting at a Jewish day school where he worked as a security guard — was taken into custody on Wednesday morning, the Department of Justice confirmed. He appeared in court later that day.

Over two dozen weapons were confiscated during a search of Develin’s home in March, the DOJ said, noting that he sold them for profit and also “possessed homemade conversion devices to convert semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and Glock-type pistols into fully automatic machine guns.”

The former security guard’s social media accounts were platforms for promoting hate and antisemitic violence many months before he was identified as a danger to Columbus’ Jewish community. Last September, he uploaded a photograph of Columbus Torah Academy, his employer, and captioned it, “Having an inner debate that if an active shooter comes in I might just join him.”

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In March, he filmed himself holding a gun in front of the Jewish day school and posted the video on SnapChat.

Develin’s social media activity also included posts about sexually assaulting women and, the DOJ said, fantasies of “committing terrorist attacks at John Glenn International Airport and at the Budweiser manufacturing facility in Columbus,” and murdering a Morgan County officer and his “entire family.”

After his earlier arrest, a local Jewish group declared that the community was unafraid and called his posts a “cowardly act of intimidation.”

“We stand resolute against antisemitism and remain committed to safeguarding our institutions. It is our right to live peacefully as Jews and we will not cower to intimidation. Our Jewish community is here to stay and will not be silenced,” JewishColumbus said.

The Biden administration has described ghost guns as “the weapon of choice for many violent criminals.” In 2021, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) received over 20,000 reports of their discovery at crime scenes, “a ten fold increase from 2016.”

In April, the administration issued a new rule banning the sale of unserialized “buy build shoot” kits that can be used for manufacturing ghost guns in less than an hour.

“Ghost guns are the guns everyone in this room knows that can be purchased in parts, assembled at home, no serial number, and can’t be traced.  And they’re as deadly as any other weapon out there. But the fact is: they are out there,” President Joe Biden said in April at an event in New York City. “If you commit a crime [with a] ghost gun, not only are state and local prosecutors going to come after you, but expect federal charges and federal prosecution as well.”

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