Slate: 80% Lowers a Bigger Threat

Clutching Pearls

This Slate article actually shows a reasonable degree of understanding on the home build issue. They correctly point out that home manufacturing is legal in most of the United States, provided they are intended for personal use by the person who makes it. Manufacturing for sale requires an FFL.

If lawmakers are concerned about threats having to do with 3D-printed weaponry, they might consider banning 3D-printed bump stocks, too, which are attachments that can be added to semi-automatic rifles to make them fire faster. Those might work better than a fully 3D-printed gun. But 80 percent lower kits remain a much bigger threat—and should be a higher priority for lawmakers.

If they reclassify bump stocks as machine guns, it will be illegal to 3D print one, just as it’s currently illegal to 3D print a machine gun. However this is feel good nonsense. Of course someone unconcerned with following the law can print a machine gun receiver, or machine a machine gun receiver from an 80% billet, or go to Home Depot and buy all the parts you need for a home made submachine gun. A lot of these fools just don’t get this: you can make this shit illegal, but it’s not going to stop someone who’s intent on committing murder, robbery, or some kind of terrorist act. It’s not going to stop people from manufacturing them for the black market. There couldn’t be a more plain case for, “This is only going to deter hobbyists who are no threat to anyone.”

But as I’ve said, that’s the idea. Stopping criminals is not the purpose of this. That’s just a bullshit pretext. The idea that anyone could just make a gun? Scare bleu! The peasants, in their basement? They might even have fun doing it! They might make a mockery of us, and wouldn’t that be the worst thing ever.

And what about the 80% issue?

Understand the fundamental issue: Generally, our law is structured around the idea that gun parts can break, and owners ought to be able to order replacement parts without having go through a background check and fill out paperwork just to get a replacement spring, firing pin, bolt, etc. This is not a loophole in the Gun Control Act. It was intentionally set up this way.

So we pick one part that is the critical piece, and call it “the gun.” Most of the time, that’s the receiver, which some designs divide into upper and lower receivers, either of which can be “the gun,” depending. There’s a certain stage of manufacturing where ATF considers a piece of metal machined enough to qualify as a firearm even if it’s not fully finished. ATF is generally clear on what those machining steps are.

So how do you “fix” this “loophole?” Say you make ATF remove a few machining steps to qualify as unfinished, and now “80% lowers” are illegal, and we now have the “70% lower.” Think hobbyists won’t get around that? How far do you go? Where does it end? At what point do you start demanding billets of aluminum get regulated? Don’t be ridiculous.

What drives me nuts about the political climate today is what I’ve seen dubbed “aggressive ignorance,” driven largely by social media. Put enough people in an echo chamber, where dissenting opinion is driven out, and the answers become simple. We live in an easy world to the aggressively ignorant. They have charlatans parading easy answers at them all day, and who are you to say it wouldn’t work? What do you know about the topic? You’re part of the evil gun lobby! If it weren’t for people like you, we could solve these problems.

Everyone wants easy answers, and god damn anyone who tries to say there aren’t any. It’s madness.

17 thoughts on “Slate: 80% Lowers a Bigger Threat”

  1. The good thing for our camp here is the anti-gun extremists have a pearl clutching event to seize on every week. We’re now at the point of not having enough colleftive F*CKS to give about their crying wolf. Most elected GOP congress folks are staying quiet. Whether they understand the facts or not, who knows, but they have to be getting tired of this stuff too.

    We’re getting to the point where banning any of these outrages of the week means painstaking work – legislative, judicial, outreach, etc. The average congressman has zero interest in weaving together any legal framework to ban anything that would have a prayer of being upheld in court or run afoul of their constituents except for the “true believers”, so why even try?

    1. That’s true- I don’t know of any GOPers who have been freaking out.

  2. The inevitable end result of the kind of social controls the Social Justice Warriors desire, is a society mired in tyranny and poverty.

    Well, at least tyranny and poverty for the vast bulk of society, for the proles. The leading lights of the “resistance” expect they will still be on top, living large, bossing people around, and doling out favors.

    Won’t the “resistance” be surprised when it turns out the thugs in their ranks seize power from them and throw them into the same gulag as the “deplorables”.

    1. If learning from the mistakes of history were their strong suit, they would not be quasi- (or actual) socialists.

  3. There are, and have been for years, companies making 60% receivers. Wherever the line moves to, somebody will meet it and make it easy for individuals to finish it.
    Personally, while I’ve fiddled with home builds, I don’t think it is worth it at this time, but I understand how it is important to others.

    1. I would use a stronger wood than pine, especially because of the recoil at the buffer tube threads. That was where the early plastic lowers were failing. Oak, Maple, or maybe Hickory.

        1. Yeah, “I had this bolt-action upper lying around” means it’s not capable as a “generic AR receiver”, since there’s no buffer tube at all.

          But equally, you could make a version that just supported the tube from the rear of the stock, and didn’t need any thread strength at the front.

  4. So, what you’re saying is build more 80% lowers and encourage others to do the same? Works for me. :)

  5. The objective is not to make laws that make sense. The objective is to create an byzantine labyrinth of onerous regulations. They want to make owning a firearm as difficult as possible and littered with legal pitfalls.

    The people are not ignorant of the nuances. They simply don’t care.

  6. Look up Army Manual Improvised Weapons & Munitions TM 31-210. Section 3 is plans and materials lists to make firearms with off the shelf parts from a hardware store. It’s a low tech solution, but you don’t need a computer and a 3-D printer, and the manual is freely available as a PDF.

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