Gun Control

Caveat Fabricator: Rep. Mike Honda Wants to Regulate Homemade Guns

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Kamenev, commons.wikimedia.org

It's election season and that means political grandstanding. According to The Hill, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) is taking a grand stand by "pushing legislation to regulate homemade guns" in the same manner as store bought guns—and that includes background checks.

Taking a leaf out of Philadelphia's playbook, Honda argues that the bill is necessary because 3-D printing allows anyone to manufacture guns without regulatory oversight.

Honda is not the first wishful legislator to propose regulating untraceable homemade guns, which currently fall outside existing gun regulations. Thanks to a loophole in the Gun Control Act of 1968, unfinished receivers do not constitute guns and therefore can be purchased without a requisite background check. Companies such as Ares Armor sell DIY gun kits with unfinished receivers included.

Gun control advocates see grave danger ahead:

"The parts needed to build an untraceable homemade gun are readily available at gun shows and on the internet," Kristen Rand, of the Violence Policy Center, said in a statement. "Now is the time to bring homemade guns under the same laws that apply to all other new firearms."

Although the legislation is likely doomed to failure in a GOP-controlled House, the bill's sponsors hope it will prove valuable political currency:

Supporters are hoping their calls for tougher gun laws will distinguish Democrats from Republicans, who are almost universally opposed to new firearms restrictions.

But even if the bill had a snowball's chance in hell and even if the hysterics about the threat of homemade guns were justified, the proposed legislation would be about as useful as Hillary Clinton at a barbecue: expanded background checks for gun buyers—the poster child of gun control advocates—have proven notoriously ineffective at preventing mass shootings.

And mum's the word on how legislation like Honda's could stop people from simply printing guns in the comfort of their homes, completely bypassing targeted online marketplaces and gun shows. 

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  1. Rep. Joe Isuzu agrees wholeheartedly that this prohibition will be doable and effective.

  2. “The parts needed to build an untraceable homemade gun are readily available at gun shows and on the internet,” Kristen Rand

    This is a lie. It is highly illegal to sell a receiver without a serial number on it, which she knows. The ATF would happily raid every gun show in America if they thought there were mass produced receivers changing hands without serial numbers on them.

    1. They are available at flea markets, though, if you start from a shovel.

    2. You can legally transfer 80% finished receivers as if they were chunks of bare metal. You need to do some minor machining and then assembled with all the other, unregulated parts.

      I have a mill and a lathe. I don’t understand the appeal of 3d printed guns, because, for less money than a 3d printer, you can buy machine tools and make a real, durable and useful gun, with way less of a skill learning curve. I wouldn’t even need an 80% lower. My only hassle is grooving a barrel, so I’d have to buy one.

      Even home CNC mills are pretty cheap nowadays, if you like to design by 0s and 1s.

      1. What’s more, you can make a functional weapon with the most basic of tools and crap you can find in most any garage. Anyone can make a zip gun out of almost anything.

    3. You could probably get 80% receivers at a show though, right? I haven’t been to one in years.

      I haven’t finished one, but I got a friend going on it. It’s nothing too crazy, a little drilling, and a little tapping, mostly (for an AR15 lower)

      1. You could get one at a show, or you could order one and have it ups’d to your home. They are legal in every way (despite the persecution wrought on Ares Armor by the ATF.)

    4. Search Google for “ktordnance.” Feel free to buy as many lower receivers sans serial numbers as you can afford, online.

      You may also wish to re-read the article, and follow the provided link to Ares Armor.

  3. Taking a leaf out of Philadelphia’s playbook, Honda argues that the bill is necessary because 3-D printing allows anyone to manufacture guns without regulatory oversight.

    Because there’s a problem, and there needs to be a law.

  4. Related: I saw a trailer for a doc about 3d printing and the “maker” culture. A minute into it I asked myself, “So where’s Cody Wilson in all this?” Sure enough, ominous music starts to play, and there’s 30 seconds about the danger of printed guns, how their companies won’t allow that, how it’s threatening everything.

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

    1. The maker culture is about making things.

      *radio announcer voice*

      Maker culture does not condone printing items which threaten the safety of our children, are offensive to women and foreign cultures, or contain elements of hate speech. The maker culture is a place of positive energy and tolerance. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you will be ejected from the maker culture.

    2. That’s because “makers” are generally just statist twats who like gadgets. Their idea of freedom is net neutrality and subsidized birth control.

  5. Really? It’s loophole because why? Because it doesn’t fit your narrative, maybe? It’s not possible that the writers of the horridly stupid ’68 GCA WANTED to allow people to craft homebuilts for some reason?

    1. And, btw, traceable is a misnomer. If you try tracing a gun, most of the time the best you could do is figure out what retailer it was shipped to when new. Even CA doesn’t have solid registration requirements.

      In CA, you have to report every sale, which includes the serial number on the form, BUT the state is required to destroy the records after a certain time. Of course, they are using the data for nefarious purposes, such as confiscating from prohibited purposes, etc.

      But, if you bought your gun before the reporting law went into effect, there’s no record of who owns it and it’s untraceable.

      The one thing is, if a gun is reported stolen or used in a crime, the serial number will reflect this. Absent that, all guns are untraceable ( with the exception of recent enough transfers in state with DROS laws)

      1. There are solid registration requirements for “assualt” weapons, however, in CA, so theoretically they are traceable to whomever registered them. Non “assualt” weapons are covered basically above, however there’s a raft of exceptions. My point is that even in a regulators utopia like CA most guns are not traceable.

  6. . . . 3-D printing allows anyone to manufacture guns without regulatory oversight.

    Uhm, we can *already* do that – without 3d printers. Been able to do it for a couple of centuries at least.

    1. +1 Khyber Pass

  7. Thanks to a loophole in the Gun Control Act of 1968, unfinished receivers do not constitute guns and therefore can be purchased without a requisite background check.

    Loophole, as always, means “actual law the speaker doesn’t like” (or, I assume in this case, that “loophole” should have been in quotes as assigned to the notional critics, as I don’t think it’s Reason’s editorial stance or Mr. McMahon’s).

    Only guns are guns; things that are not quite guns are … not guns.

    One can equally call “being able to make a gun with tools” a “loophole”, which it equally isn’t – it’s something the law never pretended to or was intended to regulate or prohibit.

    The BATFE had to draw some line between “not a gun” and “gun”, and (in a moment of sanity) seems to have found a fairly decent one; they’ve explictly rejected things like “just missing a firing pin you can drop in” or “not yet assembled”.

    The level of work in an e.g. 80% AR lower or un-bent AK blank is enough to make it clearly “not a gun yet”, and still makes it clear that “just taking the firing pin out of that sawed-off doesn’t make it not a gun, who the hell are you kidding?”…

    (Though contra Blackjack I wouldn’t be surprised if the authors of the Gun Control Act simply didn’t think of home-made guns as significant or “plausible”. Never assume competence.)

    1. The GCA was backed solidly by the NRA, some of whose members were in to gunsmithing. I find it highly plausible that they intended to avoid outlawing such activity just to retain the backing. Of course, any rational person will see that most criminals don’t put the kind of effort making a gun requires into their crime careers. Many pro shooters build their own, however.

      So, significant, likely, plausible not so much.

  8. I own a small mill/lathe,wire feed welder and various metal casting equipment and there’s not much an imaginative and motivated person couldn’t make. It’s beyond the skill set of most of the population,but when the price gets high on enough anything,people get very motivated. There is powder metallurgy sintering technology that is very similar to this that can direct print metal parts but it’s not as well developed. The more interesting application of the plastic printed parts is as investment castings.A lot of Rugers newer pistols for example are largely steel investment castings.

  9. Scan the part say,an AR-15 bolt or even something as complex and hard to machine as a stainless steel impeller for a jet boat.Scale up a few percentages to allow for the casting shrinkage of whatever alloy you want to use,invest and burn out the mold and cast your part.The quality on most of the newer 3D printers is good enough after a small amount of finishing work you should have a perfectly useful working copy of whatever you want.Anything that can be scanned can be turned into a file no harder to share than any other digital file.

    1. Your name makes you look as if you don’t give a fuck, but your text makes it look like you do.

      1. Feature not bug..

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