This Genie Isn’t Going Back Into the Bottle

Apparently Gabby Giffords’s group is pushing to shut down web sites that sell CNC equipment and 80% lowers. I’m old enough to remember when “Information wants to be free!” was a core ethos of the early days of the Internet. Seems quaint now.

The gunman who killed his wife and four others in a rampage in Northern California earlier this month had been barred from having guns but built two semi-automatic rifles at home that he used in the shooting, authorities said. Federal officials are sounding the alarm about an increasing black market for homemade military-style semi-automatic rifles and handguns.

California already requires home building to apply for and affix a serial number to home made firearms so they can be registered. I’m going to bet our Northern California whack job here didn’t comply with this particular requirement.

Don’t ever let anyone get away with arguing that the assertion, “gun control laws are useless because criminals break them anyway,” is an argument for having no laws at all. We punish people for crimes like assault, robbery, murder because those crimes in and of themselves are a moral wrongs, and those crimes have victims who deserve justice. Absent the rule of law, victims would seek their own, much harsher justice. We form governments largely to prevent this.

Since nearly everything you can do to misuse a gun involves violating one of these malum in se laws, and since all those crimes are generally quite serious, the purpose of these gun control laws can’t be to seek justice after the fact, but rather deterrence. And if the purpose of these laws is deterrence, why is it improper to argue it fails at its basic purpose?

To get back to the point, you can try to make the 3D printing and CNC genie go back into the bottle, but it won’t. You can pass laws to outlaw making guns at home, but who will it deter? It’s fair to argue it’s only going to deter people with no criminal intent. If that’s the case, what good is the law? Wouldn’t a law that fails at its basic purpose, but only serves to limit the freedom of people who are no threat to anyone be unjust?

17 thoughts on “This Genie Isn’t Going Back Into the Bottle”

  1. Did he actually make an 80% lower? The way the media is describing it I wouldn’t be surprised if he just assembled a complete gun from a 100% lower and a parts kit. Never underestimate the media’s willful ignorance on guns.

    1. Exactly. Also, never underestimate the media’s willful malice when reporting about guns.

      It always angers me how the usual suspects rush off to propose legislative “solutions” before the Public even know what really happened!

      Just look at the Las Vegas incident. It’s been 8 weeks and we still don’t know vital details of what happened. Did the shooter actually shoot a bumpstock equipped rifle at the victims? It’s reasonable to assume so, but we still don’t really know for sure. The police still haven’t told us. Heck, the police just within the last week released information on the total round count the murderer fired.

  2. The SCOTUS denied Cert to a case for hearing on the Maryland BULLCRAP “Assault Weapons Ban”, and the Democrat Propaganda Slogans like “Assault Weapons” and “Weapons of War” have now been made into Legal Terminologies thanks to Leftwing Activist, Democrat Judges. Something tells me that John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy have swung hard, hard, LEFT on the gun issuse.

    As a firearm owner, I have watched my side of the aisle “win elections” since 2009 and 2010, but the leftwing gun control agenda/2nd Amendment Abolition/ Civilian Disarmament agenda, continues to be imposed on the Country as a whole, even with the “pro-gun” side of the aisle currently in the elected “supermajority” in all levels of elected offices across America.

    We need to Get Out The Vote in 2018 and begin the movements for an Article 5, Constitutional Amendment Convention to bypass the Courts,….BOTTOM LINE! That means holding onto, and, expanding control of State Legislatures, Governorships, and, getting ACTUAL Constitutionalist Candidates into the US House and Senate, for 2018, and beyond.

    Believe it that if 2018 becomes a victorious Election Cycle for the Democrat Party, putting them into Statewide Majorities, and worst of all, making Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer the Speaker of The house and Senate Majority Leader,……then America, as a whole,…… GONE FOREVER!

  3. Really good counter-counter-argument to the “If criminals don’t follow laws, why have laws against murder???” counter-argument. They are different types of laws, and like you said, they are meant for deterrence not justice.

    1. The whole bases for our system of justice was a prohibition on certain behaviors and if you insisted on participating in the prohibited behavior you would be punished. This deterrent system had jail time, fines and in the case of murder a death penalty. This worked to some extent, removing dangerous people from society, but then the liberal ideology destroyed the death penalty deterrent for murder. The twisted ideology has now promoted the mentality among far to many that already place little value on there own lives that they will not suffer any punishment, but will in their own sick minds be celebrated in the media. It has taken on the appearance that the mentally ill are playing a game of one up man ship to garner the most attention before they end their own lives one they themselves do not value along with the lives of their victims.

  4. Exactly what you said, and it needs to be stated much more often.

    We don’t, broadly, have laws to prevent serious crimes; we have them to regulate and normalize punishment for them, for the good of both victims and the guilty.

    1. I would add that most gun control laws do not deter or even inconvenience SOBs who are intent on mayhem and murder.

      When the end goal of the SOB is to kill a lot of people, how could a back ground check or registration scheme ever stop them? They don’t because most of the killers had passed a back ground check with flying colors.

  5. The “ghost-gun” issue is the one that – I think – brings controlling gun transfers to its knees.

    There are 2 kinds of gun-control laws: felon-in-possession; and, transfer. Presently, the criminal justice system has gone light on possession. Gun-controllers have pushed for new transfer laws (UBC or the like). Government doesn’t want to put any more young minority males in prison; so, felon-in-possession has become like pot-possession – unenforceable. So, the gun-controllers see no alternative to pushing for laws that will intimidate relatively-law-abiding gun owners to “dry-up” the leakage of legitimate-market guns to the black-market.

    Very well, let’s imagine that it works. Very few – if any – legitimate-market guns leak into the black-market. Then what? “Ghost-guns”. Then, the gun-controllers will make ghost-guns “illegal”. But, criminals will still acquire them. So, gun-controllers will make it super-illegal to possess a gun without a serial number; much like it is to possess a gun with a defaced serial number.

    The solution to this gun-control will be for clandestine gun factories to counterfeit makers’ marks and serial numbers on their receivers. Now, it’s not super-illegal for a felon to possess such a gun because there is no way for him to know that the marks and number were counterfeit!

    Traffickers can buy all the guns they like, perfectly legally. Dis-assemble the legitimate-market gun; re-assemble it with an illegally-manufactured frame; magically, you have an untraceable black-market gun. This development will make the NICS system, 4473 forms, and gun-tracing a dead letter.

    Is that what gun-controllers, ATF and Congress want? It’s certainly what they will get. They will try to slow the process by regulating barrels, slides, hammers, strikers, . . . . springs. As fast as they pass a new law to regulate a new part the technology for CNC and 3D printing will catch-up.

    Pretend it won’t happen; there will be smuggling.
    Pretend smuggling won’t happen either, there will be burglaries.
    Pretend that the legitimate market and possession of civilian guns evaporates; government will be back to enforcing felon-in-possession – i.e., that measure that they were trying to avoid in the first place.

    How about we PotG start thinking of connecting the dots for our Anti-friends? They have started to “get wind” of the ghost-gun phenomena. But, they are not good at dot-connecting. Maybe we need to explain how this will all unfold.

    ATF has the most at stake here. Most of their payroll is spent on regulating FFL manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Once all crime-guns are either stolen, smuggled or manufactured in clandestine factories these paper-pushers will have nothing to do. ATF will have to re-tool it’s work-force to go-out and round-up felons-in-possession; dangerous work unsuited for paper-pushers. Prisons will have to be built for the felons found in-possession.

    Rather than concentrating on the 40% of the population consisting of law-abiding gun-owners, the Anti’s ought to be focusing on the 3% who possess guns illegally. They are not very hard to identify; they are picked-up on traffic stops, home searches and hunted-down as armed robbers or murders. Possession is an easy crime to prove; the suspect has the gun + he’s a prohibited person.

    Congress needs to understand that they can’t really “control” ghost-guns in possession by the citizens. If a hobbyist can make 1 finished receiver/frame then he can make 2. The first he engraves with his maker’s mark and serial number and dutifully registers. The second, he leaves un-marked. The first he takes to the range and tests; the second, he buries in his back-yard for a rainy day. When the confiscation order comes, the hobbyist dutifully turns-in the first; and digs up the second.

    The Anti’s will figure this all out eventually; after they have strived to impose more “transfer” gun-controls on us and they start to manifest their effect. That will take decades (assuming it happens); and, it will be very costly for both the Antis and gun-rights advocates alike. We might as well cut-the-process short and connect all the dots for them.

    But, maybe the Antis and politicians are not really the right audience. Maybe they know all this. Or, though they don’t know it, they wouldn’t care if they could see the ghost-gun of Christmas-Yet-to-Come.

    Perhaps our real audience is the voter. Perhaps we should ask our voter friends if they would prefer to lock-up felons-in-possession today; or, wait for 20 or 30 years and consider locking-up felons-in-possession of smuggled, stolen and ghost-guns. Now; or later.

  6. “When the confiscation order comes, the hobbyist dutifully turns-in the first; and digs up the second.”

    And can’t use it for ANYTHING. He turned in the legal gun. Why is he buying ammo? or reloading supplies? or a range membership without also renting a gun there?

    If it’s time to bury weapons, it’s time to use them.

    1. In practice, the issue will be more complicated than I described. But that is not my point. In tailoring a message to our fellow voters (and particularly our Congress-critters) the argument is simply that regulating ghost-guns doesn’t make them go away. If a hobbyist can make 1 he can make 2. Therefore, it’s pointless to go to the trouble to regulate ghost-guns when you can’t pin home-made receivers/frames to a registry.

      When we “have to dig them up” the day after confiscation we won’t be worried about the fact that they are illegal. We will be glad we had the foresight to make 2.

  7. It’s even worse than 80% lowers and CNC machines in a box. You can now *MOLD* a complete AR-15 lower out of plastic. The kit costs about $340 and gives you enough resin and reinforcements to cast 5 receivers. You can get resin refills for another 5 receivers for just $130.

    As an added bonus, you can mold them in pretty much any color you want.

    I’m actually surprised no one has done it for handguns (at least to my knowledge). Seems to me that you could mold a frame with integral steel rails easy enough to take common 1911 or other common handgun parts.

  8. The antis are getting desperate. They’re losing pretty much everywhere and need something to keep their issue alive and in the minds of sympathetic press.

  9. If you look, too, even muzzleloaders are on their list now: You know, the “good” kind of guns to them.

    (see #8)

    “Cue the .50 caliber muzzleloader, which delivers a particularly lethal .50 caliber round.”

    Just wait until she hears about my .54 caliber rifle, and my .62 caliber rifle. And I don’t even have the heart to tell her about my muzzleloading artillery (a 3″ bore mortar).

  10. They might as well go after Home Depot. One doesn’t even need a mill or a CNC machine to make a makeshift shotgun from PVC pipes!

  11. Be sure to read All of it.
    Re what would you do with the gun you’re not supposed to have, without ammo — make the ammo. It’s not entirely trivial, but powder — classic or smokeless — is certainly within the capabilities of a garage chemist with modest skills. Again, read that website. Look at the improvised explosives army manual (it’s on line); while not all explosives are suitable as propellants, a bunch of them are or can be slightly tweaked for the purpose.
    With 3d printing, which is close to practical if not already quite there, this whole ban stuff becomes a joke; at that point the problem is reduced to posting files on the Internet for anyone to download. And we know that that’s something that cannot be stopped, not even the Chinese can pull that off.

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