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Never Underestimate “Something Must Be Done”

The gun control powers that be must have anticipated that the DOJ would settle with Defense Distributed, because I’m seeing a lot of articles like this.

“Criminals are making their own weapons because they cannot buy them legally … or they are paying other people to make those guns for them to get around the gun laws,” said Bill McMullan, special agent in charge of ATF’s L.A. Field Division. “This is a trend among Southern California gangs.”

I have no doubt. This is why gun control doesn’t work, and why technology is increasingly rendering it a fools errand. You and I know that restricting home manufacturing isn’t going to affect anyone but the people who have no criminal intent.

I’ve said it before: what Cody Wilson doesn’t realize is that most people give a crap that technology is rendering gun control obsolete. The overriding impetus behind things like gun control are “Something must be done! This is something, so therefore it must be done!” It’s just like the opioid crisis. Are any of those laws going to affect junkies? No. They are going to affect people who have legitimate pain and are low risk for addiction.

How do these things pass? Because you have hysterical, and frankly ignorant people pushing for solutions.

“This is a crisis!”

They get joined by people who are grieving someone who they lost and amplifying the hysteria. Sometimes these people carry guilt they need to deflect onto others. “Johnny was a junkie, and I didn’t raise no junky. I was a good parent. So it must be the fault of the doctors and drug companies prescribing and making this stuff. Something must be done!”

Politicians naturally cater to these types of people, because no one wants to tell a grieving parent, “Well, maybe you’re just a shitty parent,” least of all a politician looking for votes.

Then you have the majority of the population who isn’t in pain, doesn’t own a gun, and has no dog in the fight, and is willing to nominally join calls for doing something, and isn’t willing to invest the mental energy in seriously evaluating solutions.

So don’t think because limiting home gun making and gun smithing is a fools errand means it won’t happen. It’s something not many people do, even most serious shooters. It’s better off flying under the radar.

25 Responses to “Never Underestimate “Something Must Be Done””

  1. PT says:

    So what are they going to do, ban all home manufacturing? At that point, if you are looking at hard time for making an AR15, why not just drill the third hole? Look at the Philippines and their home gun industry. I feel that something similar would develop here.

    That’s a never ending rabbit hole.

    • Sebastian says:

      Unintended consequences have never stopped anyone looking for easy answers, and they certainly have never stopped anyone who wants to sell easy answers for votes.

      But there probably isn’t one of us who hasn’t thought: “If they are going to make it hard time, why not install the fun switch?”

      • PT says:

        Also, what’s stopping anyone in AWB states with grandfather clauses from counterfeiting grandfathered lowers and magazines (eg making 100 lowers with a serial number range of a grandfathered manufacturer)? Or making 100 lowers with the same serial number and markings as Colt/DPMS/Whatever and trickling them out into the market in a state that requires registration? Or truly devious, what happens if “Russian hackers” hack the registration database?

        The genie really is out of the bottle if one wanted to be nefarious. Gun control outside of total bans can’t work due to today’s evolving technology.

        • Ian Argent says:

          Most people obey laws, more or less. That’s about it.

          Same reason most people don’t carry without permits, despite the tiny chance of being caught at it.

          • HappyWarrior6 says:

            That will no longer be the case the more GC happens in the blue states, regarding “obeying laws.”

      • Lyle says:

        Sometimes the consequences are intended.

  2. Sigivald says:

    “Criminals are making their own weapons because they cannot buy them legally … or they are paying other people to make those guns for them to get around the gun laws,” said Bill McMullan, special agent in charge of ATF’s L.A. Field Division. “This is a trend among Southern California gangs.”

    “Making guns commercially without a license and serialization” is … already illegal, Agent McMullan.

    I’m sure the vapors over CNC milling of an AR lower from billets, not even needing an 80% lower, will be next.

  3. National Observer says:

    ” ‘Criminals are making their own weapons because they cannot buy them legally … or they are paying other people to make those guns for them to get around the gun laws,’ said Bill McMullan…”

    Bill McMullan better check in with his POTUS. With all those Illegal Invaders pouring across our southern border, demanding a Wall, because they’re bringing in tons and tons of drugs, wouldn’t you think they’d bring a few guns to resupply their MS-13, et al, counterparts so they wouldn’t have to make guns for themselves?

    Which leads me to wonder: When The Wall gets built, will it prevent us from getting guns from over the border, if and when the balloon goes up?

    ;-)

    • TS says:

      Do you think building a $50 billion wall could also be filed under “something must be done”?

      • National Observer says:

        That’s an excellent example! Thanks!

        It also includes the element of “Something must be done (about a problem that doesn’t exist.)

  4. The_Jack says:

    “Something must be done” is a very powerful force. I thought I knew that, but then I attended a city council committee meeting.

    Gun control advocates are /very/ keen and emotionally invested in the symbolism of “doing something”. To the point where they will brush off if it is effective or even addresses what they want.

    I found at that meeting that they will get /angry/ at the assertion that they would need to /define/ what their proposed bill actually /is/. And fixate on the unfairness of having to do that.

    So yes, the “do something” is more strong than one thinks.

    • Alpheus says:

      “Do something” is a powerful force, but sometimes it’s surprising what it can take to placate it.

      Sometimes a proposal that will have absolutely no effect on anything will satisfy the force. This can be a good thing, because we can (1) get “something” done, and (2) when someone complains, we can point to it and say “We *did* do something!”.

      The flip side of this, though, is when “something” is going to hurt. Indeed, I remember a celebrity talking about African poverty “We need to do something! Even if it makes things worse!”

      Why in the world people want to do something that makes things worse, I have no idea, but somehow it placates the “do something” crowd….

  5. Shootin' Buddy says:

    Gun smuggling is always something I like to do with the antis.

    In the USA we use 300 metric tons of cocaine a year. That is 660,000 pounds. At 9.5 pounds per AK-47, that is 69,000 AKs per year . . . and that’s just coke, now do meth, pot, heroin, etc.

    • Bill Twist says:

      And better yet, steel just smells like, well, steel. A dog can’t tell the difference between spare steel engine parts and unfired steel gun parts. So it would be harder to find the guns.

    • National Observer says:

      “In the USA we use 300 metric tons of cocaine a year.”

      The difference is we don’t have the U.S. Government participating in gun smuggling. At least not the smuggling in. The smuggling out (and into other countries) is another story.

      Ask Ollie North.

  6. Ian Argent says:

    Coincidentally enough I just went looking for this AK build for an unrelated reason.

  7. Arizona Rifleman says:

    That’s one of many reasons I’ve been building guns from 80% lowers for a bit now, to the point of getting annoyed with the standard abuse-a-drill-press method and getting an Easy Jig 2 and a router. Much better results.

    Now something like 1/2 to 2/3 of the guns I own are 80% ARs. Other than zeroing the uppers and function checking the lowers, they’re mostly safe queens for reasons (moving, fixing up a house, keeping some for the kids when they grow up, etc.): I’ve got other guns I shoot more often. Mostly it’s just because I can, because the Powers That Be don’t want me to, it’s cheap and fun to make them, and I like having the hardware around to make more as needed. I’ve been bitten before by gun bans in California. Never again.

    That and it makes an effective counter the “ban all ARs” refrain to reply with “You can’t. I’ve literally built lots of them in my garage. If I’m motivated, I can make one or two an hour. I’m hardly the only one who does this.” A link to the guy who made an AK from a shovel is fun too. I make the point that “supply side” gun control hasn’t been feasible for a long time in the US, but is even less feasible now. In so doing, I try to steer the discussion to potentially more effective approaches that actually address the root causes of violent crime. So far, it’s been quite effective at prompting actual reasoned discourse with many people I know and discuss things with in person.

    While I agree that it can often be better if such things fly under the metaphorical radar to prevent the” do something!” folks from getting the vapors, it’s nice to know that there’s enough people out there interested in making their own guns that there’s several companies making and selling 80% receivers, jigs, tools, and parts kits, lots of forums and boards on it, reviews and photos on Amazon of tools and equipment (e.g. routers, drill presses, drill bits and end mills, etc.) mentioning a products suitability for making 80% lowers, etc. and that it’s no longer some super niche thing.

    Things can’t fly under the radar forever, and I’d much rather have it be something done by a moderately large number of ordinary people using stuff one can order from retailers like Brownells in addition to a small number of bad guys rather than being something only done by kooky survivalists, criminals, and other easily-demonizable people.

    • Sebastian says:

      To be clear, I’m not suggesting never talking about it, and treating it like we’re doing something wrong or illegal. Just don’t get deluded into thinking there won’t be a backlash, because gun control is now impossible. It might be, but it doesn’t mean they won’t try.

      • The_Jack says:

        Heck, that means they may just try harder.

        Even in a world where /anyone/ can print their own gun in their garage, it is a lot easier to keep heavy gun control in place if it’s been the status quo, than is is to get it /passed/.

        So the backlash and push would come /before/ the genie is out of the bottle culturally and technologically.

      • Arizona Rifleman says:

        Clear as crystal.

        Personally, I’d be surprised if there was much of a backlash. Sure, anti-gun-rights folks don’t really seem to care about numbers or stats, but so few crimes are committed with homemade guns that it’s essentially a non-issue for most gun control groups and politicians when there’s the perceived-to-be-low-hanging fruit of registration, AWBs, etc. that they can push for.

        Sure, some states like California can and have done stupid things regarding homebuilt guns, but I suspect and hope it doesn’t go much beyond that.

        We’ll see, but I’ve feeling pretty optimistic lately. I hope I’m right but am cognizant of the risk if I’m not.

  8. Ian Argent says:

    Reminder – NJ has already banned home manufacture of guns…

  9. JC_VA says:

    Might be best to redirect in these cases, such as to anti-violence initiatives. Great selling points are the excellent results seen, and the ability for moderate voices to completely avoid the gun debate.

  10. Lyle says:

    “How do these things pass? Because you have hysterical, and frankly ignorant people pushing for solutions.”

    Yeah, and because you have corrupt, and frankly evil people pushing for power.

    The hysterical and frankly ignorant routine is the theatre used to promote the evil. It’s part of the script. It might even be real in some cases (type casting can be a great move), but it’s put up in front for the theatre. It’s a dog and pony show. Millions will die of course, but it’s a dog and pony show.

    If we can’t identify the problem (evil people, in positions of power, systematically attacking the basic foundations of civilization) we can never address it. If we can’t address the problem it will only grow. If we attribute felonious intent to hysteria and ignorance, we’ll never understand what’s happening to us. Like so many before us, we’ll end up standing in the ruins of a once-great society and wondering, “How could this have happened?”

    • National Observer says:

      “If we can’t identify the problem (evil people, in positions of power, systematically attacking the basic foundations of civilization…)

      Consider the enigma of good people turned evil by the pursuit of power, which they had hoped to use to accomplish good ends.

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