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Michael Roby sentenced to 18 months in jail after seizure of ‘ghost guns’ and bump stocks, AG says

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A 39-year-old Wrentham man has pleaded guilty to assembling “ghost guns” and being in possession of bump stocks, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Michael Roby was sentenced in Norfolk Superior Court by Judge William Sullivan to two and a half years in the house of correction, 18 months to be served and the balance to be suspended for five years, with conditions of release, Healey’s office said in a statement Friday.

Roby was facing charges including two counts of possession of a silencer; two counts of possession of a machine gun; five counts of possession of explosives; and 20 counts of possession of a large-capacity magazine.

Officials define “ghost guns” as untraceable, privately-made firearms that do not have serial numbers or other identifying marks.

The guns are often manufactured from firearm parts kits. While purchasing such kits through online retailers or at brick and mortar gun shops is legal, once assembled, the firearm can be untraceable and illegal.

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“Ghost guns pose a serious threat to public safety – they’re untraceable and are often made from easily obtained items, allowing people to circumvent our laws,” said Healey. “My office is working with our partners in law enforcement to keep these deadly firearms off our streets.”

Roby was arrested in July 2019 following a joint investigation involving Healey’s office, Massachusetts State Police, Homeland Security Investigations Task Force, Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Postal Service and the Wrentham Police Department.

When a search warrant was executed at Roby’s residence, authorities discovered six ghost guns that Roby built himself, along with several large-capacity magazines and ammunition, Healey’s office said in its statement.

At the time of Roby’s arrest, state police said the guns found included two AR-15 style rifles that were stored unsecured in a bedroom, one of which was loaded with a high-capacity magazine; three additional AR-15 style rifles that were inside a safe in a bedroom; and a Glock pistol that was stored unsecured in a bedroom nightstand and loaded with a high-capacity magazine, state police said.

State police said Roby has never had a license to carry a firearm or a Firearm Identification Card.

“Investigators believe that Roby had used gun powder from the devices to build the firearms and law enforcement had previously intercepted two Glock selector switches, which are considered bump stocks in Massachusetts, that Roby had ordered to be mailed to his house,” the attorney general’s office said.

Massachusetts in 2018 became the first to outlaw bump stocks, accessories that allow semi-automatic firearms to mimic the rapid firing of machine guns.

A search warrant filed recently in Worcester District Court indicated that items shipped from China to Massachusetts have led to the discovery of several ghost guns.

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© 2020 MassLive.com