Guns

'Ghost Gun' Bans Are Doomed from the Start

The DIY firearms movement specifically evolved to put personal armaments beyond the reach of the government.

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The problem with imposing legal restrictions intended to stop a practice that is designed to evade legal restrictions is that you were outflanked before you even started. That's the challenge for President Joe Biden and lawmakers around the country as they consider limits on "ghost guns"—homemade guns that are created, owned, and used off the government's radar. Do-it-yourself manufacturing has always hobbled authorities' ability to control things they don't like, and the modern ghost gun movement specifically evolved to put personal armaments beyond the reach of the state.

"The White House is weighing a number of gun safety proposals as it looks to deliver on President Joe Biden's campaign promises," Politico reported this week. "Among the executive actions under consideration by the administration is one that would require buyers of so-called ghost guns — homemade or makeshift firearms that lack serial numbers — to undergo background checks, according to three people who have spoken to the White House about their plans."

Actually, this is somewhat misleading. Under current federal law (some states have tighter rules) as interpreted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, "[a]n individual may generally make a firearm for personal use. However, individuals engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms for sale or distribution must be licensed by ATF." Basically, the law already regulates the manufacture of firearms for sale no matter how the gun was created.

Presumably, then, the Biden administration is considering regulating the partial kits that are sold for people to finish and assemble into working firearms. So-called "80 percent receivers" would then be treated as complete firearms—if you could successfully define something that can, with work, be turned into a finished product without also banning materials used in other ways. While we don't know the administration's plan, a bill working its way through the Virginia General Assembly specifies, "'Unfinished frame or receiver' means a piece of any material that does not constitute the frame or receiver of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun but that has been shaped or formed in any way for the purpose of becoming the frame or receiver of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, and which may readily be made into a functional frame or receiver through milling, drilling, or other means."

That might successfully target products explicitly marketed as 80 percent receivers, but those are conveniences for use with a jig and a few tools, as then-Reason producer Mark McDaniel detailed in 2018. Going beyond such products threatens to imperil whole aisles at home improvement outlets if the language is rigidly enforced.

"It's hard to imagine stopping it, short of banning 3D printers or metal pipes," Slate's Ari Schneider observed recently of the FGC-9, a semiautomatic weapon that's the latest brainstorm of DIY gun enthusiasts. "Most of the gun is 3D-printed, while the rest includes inconspicuous parts available at hardware stores," he noted.

Plans for the FGC-9 are available at the Defcad repository so that anybody can try their hand at creating ghost guns without being limited to the kits that trouble activists lobbying Biden and Virginia legislators. 

That's the main idea behind the modern ghost gun/DIY firearms movement. It's not just a hobby, it's a political movement that Cody Wilson, the inventor of the 3D-printed Liberator single-shot pistol from which the FGC-9 descends, described to Reason in 2018 as "a war on power itself." Wilson, who was briefly sidelined by sexual assault charges, sees his efforts as part of a broader push for personal liberty that also includes Bitcoin and payment systems that enable people to work around centralized authority. The Defense Distributed organization he founded manufactures Ghost Gunner CNC machines for finishing 80 percent frames*. The larger movement continues through more decentralized outlets.

"All individuals are entitled to the utility to defend their humanity. Gun control has failed. You can't stop the signal," boasts the online group Deterrence Dispensed. The group, with members spread around the world, wants to "make it impossible for authorities anywhere to stop people having a gun," as a 2020 documentary put it. The presumably pseudonymous "J Stark," interviewed for the documentary, says that people should have access to the same force that's available to those who rule over them.

The ghost gun movement, then, disobeys intrusive laws and actively works to render government restrictions ineffective. Placing tighter restrictions on 80 percent receivers or other precursor parts for firearms is equivalent to the old Soviet regime trying to shut down the samizdat underground press by regulating copiers; it was an inconvenience, but the publishing network worked around the restrictions.

That the Politico piece goes on to describe gun control activists' frustration at Biden's seeming slowness to act may be a sign that the administration is aware that any such efforts are likely to be ineffective. Disappointing supporters is one thing, but officials especially dread being ignored. In recent years, Connecticut's assault weapon registration requirement drew only about 15 percent compliance, while New York's similar law stalled at 5 percent. Officials were left looking impotent.

Or perhaps the Biden administration realizes that shifts in the culture have left Americans less receptive to incursions on their self-defense rights. Last year, many people took to the streets to protest against abusive and biased policing, while others were left to defend homes and businesses neglected by overwhelmed law enforcement agencies. Legal gun sales hit an all-time high, according to FBI background check records, as millions of people, many of them Biden voters, grew skeptical of the authorities and took responsibility for their own safety. As a result, "Americans' appetite for gun control is the lowest it has been since 2016," Gallup reported in November.

Anti-gun activists clamoring for a crackdown on "ghost guns" will find a rocky reception for their schemes in a population that has become less amenable to disarming itself in deference to the powers that be. And then they'll discover that firearms activists are way ahead of them and have long planned to render such restrictions toothless.

CORRECTION: This piece previously described Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson as inactive in the organization. That period was temporary and he is now leading the organization again.

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  1. That the Politico piece goes on to describe gun control activists’ frustration at Biden’s seeming slowness to act may be a sign that the administration is aware that any such efforts are likely to be ineffective.

    “I think it’s paramount to note that the president is planning first and foremost to appoint an LGBTQ Person of Color to head up the agency charged with sending armed agents to enforce whatever ban you’re pining for today.”

    1. They need a significant mass shooting event to happen in order to exploit a crisis to get the real “do something, anything!” traction they need.

      MDS was three years back, and Hog Boy is selling pillows because he doesn’t like Mike Lindell.

      1. Every weekend in Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta and many other progressive utopian cities would qualify. But no one is watching.

        1. The wrong demographic subset is killing each other.

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      2. I will begin to THINK about believeing they are really on about safety and “saving lives” when they go back and take a long hard look at HOW the killer at the Parklend School was able to purchase his long gun /murder device AFTER having committed fur felony level crimes. Any ONE of those four felony offenses SHOULD have resulted in the report of his crime, any one of them, to the background check whizzers in DC thus blocking any attempts by the perp to purchase a firearm. So the failure of FBI, ATF, NICS< etc, to first GET, then properly FILE and then to MAINTAIN that record such that when Bozo comes in to a licensed gun store, fills out the 4473, and the FFL makes that phone call, now leads to MY being denied what IS mine to have, despite the FACT I was three thousand miles away and knew nothing about perp's four felony charges NOT being handled correctly and thereby enabling him to murder nearly tirty people.

  2. Or perhaps the Biden administration realizes that shifts in the culture have left Americans less receptive to incursions on their self-defense rights.

    Not that the Biden administration gives a rat’s ass about what Americans think. And why should they? It’s not like they’re beholden to the voters. That’s why they’re cramming through all this left-wing identity politics bullshit.

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  3. Background checks on aluminum billets should be mandatory! And ban all high capacity 3D printers.

    1. You’d have to ban stepper motors, the best high capacity 3D printers are built from scratch to widely distributed open source plans.

      1. Their goal is not a gun free society. Their goal is Brazil.

        1. You misspelled Venezuela. 🙂

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  4. Redefine “80%” and serialize barrels and slides. Require FFL transfer. Most people aren’t making those themselves.

    1. Piss off.

    2. First of all, go fuck yourself.

      Secondly, people don’t manufacture those themselves because they’re readily available on the commercial market with no paperwork. If you regulate them, I promise you the underground manufacturing market will figure it out pretty quickly.

    3. Amazing how many raging statist commenters aren’t even hiding it anymore.

    4. Shooting the messenger won’t help.

      If they want to restrict access to “ghost guns” it’s not hard. Polymer80 intentionally published a set of complicated instructions to make it look harder than it is to complete a frame. The ATF could redefine the popular kits as 85% complete and “poof” they are off the market. Here’s an example: “An 80% receiver is one that requires at least X hours of work by someone who is skilled in the art.” To borrow patent language. Then update X to achieve the desired outcome.

      Printed guns are harder to make than it looks. Forums are full of people who spend days trying to get them to print correctly.

      So, a simple ATF tweak gives Biden credit for “banning ghost guns” for some definition of “ghost gun.”

      If they decide printed guns are a thing, they can start serializing barrels and slides. That would probably require legislation, but it would give them something to fund raise on.

      1. If they decide printed guns are a thing, they can start serializing barrels and slides. That would probably require legislation, but it would give them something to fund raise on.

        Sure, but considering they currently hold the presidency and Congress and can’t get anything passed in the face of record gun sales, I think it’s pretty clear even to them that that cash cow is drying up and that empty gestures going forward will be seen as just that.

      2. Google Philip Luty. Luty, a UK resident built a submachine gun from commonly available hardware components.
        Laws banning unserialized “unfinished receivers/frames” are designed to be abused. Any chunk of metal of the right size could possibly be finished into a receiver or frame. So, the guy who wrote a letter to the editor criticizing some public official gets a visit from cops bearing a search warrant, and sure enough, he has some automotive part in his garage which could, possibly, be finished into a firearm frame/receiver. The charges will likely be dismissed, but the letter writer will have missed worked to appear in court and spent legal fees defending himself, and will thus be hesitant to criticize officialdom again. Pretty neat, huh?

        1. I have an AR-15 with a 16″ barrel. I also own a hacksaw.

          Constructive possession of an SBR.

          1. A sixteen inch barrel and SBR are pretty tightly defined. “Unfinished receiver/frame” is pretty vague and will lend itself to abusive interpretation.

            1. >A sixteen inch barrel and SBR are pretty tightly defined.

              Someone missed the memo on AR pistols.

              1. Just made myself a 300 BLK “pistol” with 10.5″ barrel and SBA 3 5 position “brace.” Thus far it is legal, but if I were to simply switch uppers with my rifle [with an actual “stock”], bingo: felony.

                The laws around guns have become nonsensical and largely meaningless [cosmetic] in terms of effecting what they can or can not do. Upon such things is felonious behavior determined.

                1. High capacity bayonet lug.

    5. *squints*

      Can’t tell if legitimate suggestion or goring the ox.

      The receiver is serialized because it’s considered to be the unique portion of the firearm. Multiple serial numbers on one firearm, especially the interchangeable parts, would just make a mess. Especially in the case of shotgun barrels, where every hardware store carries multiple lengths of pipe sufficient to make multiple barrels. Would a 12 ft. piece of steel pipe just get 1 serial number or a unique serial number printed every 16 in.? If I have 5 receivers, 5 slides, and 5 barrels, is that 5 unique firearms or 125?

      1. They already have onerous regulations that allow you to purchase a 14″ barrel but not legally attach it to your receiver without a tax stamp. It created a whole industry of avoision with the gun community hanging on the word of every ATF enforcement letter.

        99.9% of 80% receivers are completed with off the shelf parts, available on ebay. The pistol receivers are almost universally a plastic kit you can complete with sandpaper and a drill. Take those off the market, and you’ve effectively hamstrung the market.

        Compare the popularity of the Glock pattern kits to the Sig P320 pattern kits. The P320 requires some metal working. The Glock does not.

        The AR-15 aluminum kits are even harder to complete. They require a few hundred bucks in tools. Oh, and AR-15s aren’t used in crimes.

        But I seriously doubt the polymer80 kits are used in crimes either.

        So, back to the original topic. The administration could pretty easily kill the market for plastic gun kits. In fact the path forward is easier than the bump stock ban.

        The next step would be serializing barrels. It would require legislation. Yes, you could still make your own, both practically and legally. But most people lack those skills.

        1. I think you’re being deliberately obtuse about this. Even more deliberately obtuse than the Democrats.

          You’ve turned your own logic around. How many people do you know who’ve been arrested for selling an illegal 14″ barrel? None. How many people do you know who’ve been arrested for putting a 14″ barrel on their receiver? None. Why does that make you think that they have the ability to blanket legislate and mass incarcerate people for non-crime infractions as broad as machining metal?

          As I pointed out, there is no literal definition of an ‘80% lower’ on the books. Obama could’ve told the ATF that 80% receivers were out in the wake of Sandy Hook. Democrats have the Presidency and Congress now. If gun control were really popular, they’d just pass Brady 2.0, but they can’t because there’s no popular will to do so. They couldn’t ban unfinished receivers and ghost guns under Obama and you’re asserting that they can ban the machining of aluminum billets.

          I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be apprehensive about these agencies and future/existing regulations, but the idea that they could just pass some legislation and ban manufacturing and that people would just stand for it is absurd. Maybe you have a case to be made in the context of social acceptance of COVID regulations but, even then, gun stores and shooting ranges were frequently/broadly exempted from those regulations as well.

          1. > the idea that they could just pass some legislation and ban manufacturing and that people would just stand for it is absurd.

            If the ATF reclassified the Polymer80 (and the like) kits as 85%, it would kill the current ghost gun market.

            99% of “ghost guns” are made by people who do not have the skills to 3D print.

            Polymer80 kits weren’t trendy 5 years ago. Now they are. Bump stocks were a novelty that no one cared about until Trump banned them.

            Would it be difficult or even impossible to eliminate all 3D printed firearms? yes.

            Would it take 10 minutes to eliminate 99% of the source? Also yes.

            14″ barrels are not currently illegal to purchase. They are only illegal to attach to a rifle lower without a stamp. They are legal to use on a pistol lower without a stamp, because reasons. I use this example to show how the feds are not shy about passing stupid, unenforceable regulations.

            To summarize
            1) it would be easy to kill 99% of the ghost gun market
            2) the fact that a law is stupid or irrational is in no way a barrier to ATF regulations.

      2. Multiple serial numbers on one gun happens with milsurp like an SKS.

        1. Yeah, I know the upper receivers on some guns are taxed, controlled, and serialized as well, but it’s a bit of the exception that proves the rule or isn’t inconsistent with what I’m saying. I have to present an FOID to buy ammo and have to wait 72 hours to buy a firearm. I’ve never had to wait 72 hours to buy a barrel whether it had a serial number or not. I don’t know anyone who’s been fined, taxed, penalized, or arrested because they owned a barrel without a serial number.

          Moreover, as seen with the Brady Bill and Sandy Hook the clock is ticking on any regulation/legislation that gets put in place. Busting a gun store owner or hobbyist for mismatched serial numbers doesn’t hold water with the constituency. Whether they’re the “cold dead hands” variety or the “Do something about Sandy Hook!” variety.

          1. >I’ve never had to wait 72 hours to buy a barrel whether it had a serial number or not.

            You missed the point.

            The point is that could change easily. His platform explicitly advocates the ban of online sales of gun parts. Putting a serial number on barrels and requiring FFL transfer would be one operational way to do this.

          2. >I have to present an FOID to buy ammo and have to wait 72 hours to buy a firearm.

            >the idea that they could just pass some legislation and [require ID to buy ammo] and that people would just stand for it is absurd.

            1. Am in a constitutional carry state with no wait periods for purchase yet some stores require id before buying ammo. I think more would accept showing id for ammo than one would think.

              1. Private stores requiring driver’s licenses is one thing, the state mandating that you apply for a license from the state police before being able to purchase ammo is quite another.

            2. Exactly my point. There’s nothing, legislatively, stopping IL from requiring an FOID to buy a rifle barrel. I go to IN, WI, IA, etc. and people pronounce how crazy it is/intolerable it would be to present a license to buy ammo. They can’t/wouldn’t do such a thing because both the anti-control and pro-control advocates would recognize it for the empty gesture that it is.

        2. That’s because Euro and many other countries regulate different parts than the ones the U.S. does. ‘Over there’ the parts that actually bear the pressure of the firing cartridge (the barrel, bolt and or slide, are regulated.
          Some people got nailed for importing the lower receivers of Euro HK 416 (fully automatic AR clones) lower receivers into the U.S. because they’re not required to be serialized as they’re not regulated like they are in the U.S.

    6. Even if they aren’t currently making barrels it isn’t that difficult. Maybe not perfect at the moment but DIY rifled barrels aren’t that hard to make. Want shotgun barrels – they’re literally available at the local hardware store.

      Let’s not forget that many sub machine guns were slapped together pretty cheaply during WW2. Sure, they were crude but they were effective. Not that hard to do in the back yard. Add in salt remelting of 3D prints and 3D prints for lost wax casting and full backyard builds will come easily. I imagine it won’t be long before someone prints and casts a firearm from beer cans or other repurposed metal bits.

      1. ” I imagine it won’t be long before someone prints and casts a firearm from beer cans or other repurposed metal bits.”

        YouTube vid has a man doing just that . He’s made one from beer cans and another from fired cartridge brass.

  5. Plans for the FGC-9 are available at the Defcad repository so that anybody can try their hand at creating ghost guns without being limited to the kits that trouble activists lobbying Biden and Virginia legislators.

    Except in glorious People Republic of Jersey, where the possession of these plans is a felony (currently under appeal), despite the blatant 1A violation.

    Fuck Phil Murphy.

    1. They probably liken it to child pornography [I knew that well intended restriction would have not so nice repercussions; if you do something like restricting a freedom for one reason, it will most certainly be a template for others down the road].

      1. Actually, their argument was that computer code isn’t afforded 1A protections. It’s an utter lie, and they know it, but they’ll hold out as long as they can.

        1. Really? Even after Bernstein v. US and Junger v. Daley they cling to such authoritarian ideals. Meh, that’s what TOR and/or VPNs are for.

          1. Third party doctrine? A brief review of recent cases [Carpenter v United States a hopeful bellwether?] seems to suggest that this notable fourth amendment exception is still the law of the land.

  6. “…but officials especially dread being ignored. In recent years, Connecticut’s assault weapon registration requirement drew only about 15 percent compliance, while New York’s similar law stalled at 5 percent. Officials were left looking impotent.”

    I think this is key; if enough of us just ignore overreaching government and find ways around it [as with bitcoin and DIY methods, etc.] it will grow powerless. If a plurality of us can stop paying/ avoid taxes, it will be dead in the water.

    I do not think there will be a Civil War 2.0 [that previous one cost 625,000 lives and untold economic and civil damage]; this one will be just finding ways to ignore unjust/ unconstitutional laws. To which central government can back off and respect our rights, or fail.

    1. Nullification is more effective than armed conflict.

      1. I’m not holding my breath waiting on 3D printed ordinance nullifiers. Nullification is preferrable, but not always feasible.

    2. First thing they taught me in OTS (well, second after not drooling): Don’t give orders you know won’t be obeyed. It ruins your perceived authority.

      Of course, Ayn Rand has posits in AS that the government only has real power and dominion over criminals, so it makes more criminals… A bit dark, but seems plausible.

      1. Somewhat OT, but your comment “Don’t give orders you know won’t be obeyed. It ruins your perceived authority” makes me think of what is likely to happen soon with respect to covid regs. If the various political leaders were smart, they’d realize they are about to loose the covid lockdown battle and pack it in before they loose even more of their power when people realize there will be no cost for not obeying (particularly if everybody quits obeying at about the same time).

        1. “If the various political leaders were smart…”

          Now that’s a stretch. Narcissists may be intellectually gifted, but problem is they can never see beyond their immediate wants and how to play any and every thing to their perceived advantage. If that were not the case Nixon would have finished his second term, and Cuomo wouldn’t be dealing with his media, cronies, and sycophants turning on him.

          1. Note the use of the word “if”.

    3. Please give us an example of central government backing off and respecting our rights.

      Some people who are IN the central government are on our side, but they are not currently in power.

      1. I honestly cannot think of any; if they pass a law that is ignored, it can still be held over your head as an individual; just because 90% of the population ignores it, doesn’t mean that the government minions won’t crawl up your individual ass over it [reminds me of when I used to smoke weed with the assistant DA and a federal judges clerk back in the day; just because we all ignored that marijuana was illegal, that did not give us a pass if we ever got caught with it].

        No, as these various institutions including government loses credibility, they will lose meaningful power and any legitimacy. That does not mean they will necessarily go down easy, but I honestly cannot see any other way. Can you?

        If for example my State of the Federal government passes draconian [is there any other kind?] gun laws, and my community agrees to be a 2A sanctuary, I can still go the range or public land [or my own property] and shoot my AR platform rifles with 40 round mags, and no one within my community is going to do anything about it. If the feds want to impose their laws, let the feds do it themselves. That would make their laws meaningless, and could serve as a template for ignoring other unconstitutional behavior.

        1. We decriminalized marijuana. Believe a few folks that purchased firearms through an FFL got charged by the feds since they view marijuana use as making it illegal to own or buy firearms. Not sure how they checked that box on the background form.

          One example of govt working for rights was when the area liberal paper did a FOIA request to get all of the names and addresses of CCW holders so they could publish them. It was a town’s police office that notified pro 2A groups. The legislature quickly passed a law making that info exempt to such requests and the governor signed it into law.

  7. Many of the most popular firearms have been around for more than 100 years. The tools to make them are common and readily available. The skill required to use those tools may be lacking at the moment, but they can can also be readily aqcuired.

  8. Between “Snow Crash” (burbs claves) and “Cryptonomicon” (‘ghost’ gun plans stored by paranoid hackers), Neal Stephenson is scary prescient about likely futures.

    1. Thanks, looked him up and this particular quote seems quite germane to many of our threads here:

      “Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”
      ― Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

      My new standard response to the Rev, Tony, and the Mormon hater.

      1. Oh hell YES!!

        It shall be my standard response also.

  9. Illegal guns always bring devastation and mayhem. Why not use video game controllers instead, the best a man can get and still a part of the pop culture. We all know the peace and tranquility will prevail.

    1. I honestly don’t know if you’re being sarcastic, are a paid troll, or if you are truly a total fucking idiot.

      1. I clicked on your link; maybe you’re just a bot, in which case I got scammed by your pseudo post.

  10. Filipinos have been making quite adequate shotguns from plumbing supplies since before WWII. It’ll be interesting when we have to pass a background check to buy some threaded pipe and end caps.

  11. Firearms have been with us for what 600-700 years? That genie ain’t going back in the bottle. A hobby desktop CNC can nibble away at a piece of billet aluminum for few hours and viola! Another firearm is born! It truly isn’t that difficult. Prisoners have made zip guns in prison with junk and crude a hand tools. You really think you’re going to stop people using modern machine tools? I laugh in your general direction!

  12. Still preaching the Biden/Harris administration is a moderate one Reason?

    1. I don’t think they’re every going to admit how big they screwed up helping Biden win.

  13. The elephant in the room is that it’s easier and cheaper to make a submachinegun than to build an AR-15 from parts and a chunk of aluminum (the Brits spent about EIGHT DOLLARS EACH to make Stens, that’s $132 today).

    Currently, people buy 80% kits because they would rather spend the extra time and money to end up with a legal gun. ATF officials know that they have to keep that tradeoff available and attractive enough to keep this trend going. They are trying to explain this to Biden, Schumer and the other members of the NSDNC.

  14. Even if homemade firearms were a bit harder than they really are, they couldn’t seriously restrict the supply; Your average meth-head isn’t a chemist, how successful have they been at banning illegal drugs? Bans just create black markets, and when you ban something that a huge fraction of the population believe, with good reason, they’re constitutionally entitled to have, it’s going to be a BIG black market.

    I don’t think they’re trying to seriously restrict the supply. Ideally they probably DO expect and want people to violate such laws. Because then they’ve got them by the short and curlies.

    Encourage a large faction of the opposition to commit felonies, and you can start disenfranchising the opposition as you catch them.

    And, once a gun is illegal, it is no longer much use to you outside of life and death situations, you can’t safely use it for hobby shooting anymore.

    1. If you do not reside in a pseudo democracy like NJ, CT, or CA, or within a blue urban bubble, promote your local governance to declare itself a sanctuary, as happened all over Virginia in response to their States laws]. If your local police and SD will not enforce the laws, the feds [or state police] will have to come in an do it themselves., and that is largely [though not completely] beyond their ability to do. That is what will make their laws functionally null, and provide you with some personal freedom.

      Perhaps the same could be applied to other violations of the Constitution.

  15. The first purpose of the Second Amendment is too often overlooked, fostering a liberty of mind and action necessary in the individual citizens of a free republic.

    Making DIY guns and handloading ammunition are the next steps past arms ownership and use in self-reliance fostering an even greater liberty of mind and action. The dozen year shortage of both guns and ammunition on our gun shop shelves highlights the value of our having the opportunities of these next steps.

  16. A gun is not a fusion reactor. Anyone with reasonable mechanical skill can make a functional one, and it is no harder to make a submachine gun than it is to male a semiauto.

    The whole point of the 80% thing was to determine at what point the receiver is no longer a gun part, and can be owned or sold without regulation. They could define that point farther back in the process, and all it would do is add a few more machining steps for someone wishing to make one. But there will always be some point where the object stops being considered a gun.

    I have a decent selection of machine tools. If I chose to do so, I could take a bag of empty soda cans out to the shop tomorrow morning, and by the afternoon could turn them into a nice working AR-type receiver. A good rifled barrel is more difficult to make, but still not prohibitively so. I have a neighbor that makes barrels for competitive distance shooters. He does this in his garage.
    Powder and even primers are just basic chemistry. This is all old technology which cannot be un-invented.

    But the availability of guns was never the real problem. I live in an area where access to guns is pretty much universal, but we have almost no violent crime, much less gun crime. It is easy to fixate on gun control as an easy solution to a complex problem.

    1. In Sarajevo, the Bosnian Muslims were surrounded by the Serbs and nearly out of rifle ammo. They had a massive supply of shotgun shells and a few machine shops. I have seen dozens of their homemade weapons. They were not pretty, but a double barrel shotgun made with pipe and gate latches will still get the job done.

  17. Just some random thoughts.

    Small arms and ammo has been harder to get for six months more or less depending on where you live; and prices have gone through the roof. But from everything I know this is more a demand exceeding supply than anything else.

    If I want to buy ammo I have to get up at 5:30AM on Wed or Sun and drive to the local The Academy and stand in line till they open at 9:00AM and am limited to three boxes of each type; or maybe go to some other LGS where prices are three times (or more) as at The Academy. But from what I see online from ammo companies they are running full speed three eight hour shifts a day and only making the most popular rounds; that are sold out instantly unless you go somewhere they are price gouging.

    Same thing for small arms. Sure you can buy stuff like a lower with a serial number and get parts from wherever to finish the build; or even buy a completed lower and a matching completed upper and trade your time for money. But it is almost impossible to find what I call top tier guns; they are all out of stock (I am talking about stuff like a Hershel FN PS90 (my choice for the best personal defense weapon and even if they will not confirm it what the Secret Service carries; albeit the P90 which is the full auto version, various other stuff like modern bullpups from Israel, top of the line AK47s from Serbia, or literally dozens of other first rate small arms).

    Both small arms and ammo have devolved to the lowest common denominator; one size fits all generic 9mm rounds and the former cheapest small arms that are priced sky high now.

    Not trying to dis guns or peeps but as a former competition shooter who favors top of the line CZ Parrots set up for the open class I would not shoot a DIY pistol on a bet in a match. Same for my Tika TAK A1 in Creedmoor; no way I would expect a DIY long gun to come close to matching it’s sub MOA ability at 300+ meters. Sad to say those days are history as it is now impossible to get match grade ammo even in 9mm; and don’t even mention match grade Creedmoor.

    While what Biden/dems have done/are doing has brought massive changes to the average gun owner from my point of view it has destroyed the top tier of real shooters. Even if they could afford it there is simply not the supply of ammo needed to keep in shape and quality firearms are not just hard to find put prices are double or triple from even a year ago.

    1. “Same for my Tika TAK A1 in Creedmoor; no way I would expect a DIY long gun to come close to matching it’s sub MOA ability at 300+ meters. Sad to say those days are history as it is now impossible to get match grade ammo even in 9mm; and don’t even mention match grade Creedmoor.

      While what Biden/dems have done/are doing has brought massive changes to the average gun owner from my point of view it has destroyed the top tier of real shooters. Even if they could afford it there is simply not the supply of ammo needed to keep in shape and quality firearms are not just hard to find put prices are double or triple from even a year ago.”

      I’d say roll your own for the ammo, but no one has primers anymore. I’m very surprised that manufacturers and components suppliers haven’t ramped up to meet demand. Which makes me think that .Gov is ‘helping’ things again.

      I had thought, at least in rifle land, that there was quite a bit of DIY, in things like the benchrest and F-Class world? I was going to ask what a CZ Parrot was—I’d heard of a Czechmate and Shadow—then I remembered we have this duckduckgo thing.

      Hmmm. Lucky. https://www.omahaoutdoors.com/cz-czechmate-parrot-20-26-rd-9mm-pistol-c-more-red-dot/ I know it’s a hell of a lot more precise than I can be. Have a hard time beating an old Ruger MkI in that regard.

      1. They’re not ramping up production equipment because at some point the market is going to tank, either because people relax when the antigunners are decisively defeated, or because buying the stuff has been made illegal.

        Either way they lose their shirts on any money they spent increasing production capacity.

        And they can’t import more, yeah, because of .Gov ‘helping’ things.

        Primers are the one point of the supply chain that worries me, because they’re quite specialized and highly regulated. Guns I can make in my garage. Heck, I can make cartridges in my garage, too, (I design deep draw stamping tools for a living.) but I can’t make primers.

        1. Saw a youtube vid by the CEO of Federal and another by the CEO of Hornady and they are selling everything they can as fast as they make it. In the past they made primers for their own use and sold the excess (based on demand for their own rounds) on the open market. But now they use almost all the primers they make.

          While Title 10 requires the US Military produce their own ammo (which they do in Lake City, Mo.) there is a huge demand for ammo from other federal agencies. Lake City currently produces about 1.6 billion rounds a year (5.56, 7.62, and 50). I can understand the US Secret Service buying ammo; along with some other agencies that mainly enforce laws. Not so sure why the Social Security Administration needs to buy ammo; along with a host of other federal agencies who seem to be well armed. Really have a problem understanding why NOAA needs to buy ammo (maybe there is something to the Roswell landing and they are just being careful). In any case in total federal agencies bought something over three billion rounds in 2020. While I can’t seem to find good numbers state and local governments have police, sheriff, and highway patrol departments that also buy ammo; and probably some other agencies as well.

          Probably 13-14 billion rounds were produced in 2020 from what I can find. It would be understandable to claim half of that went to federal, state, and local governments. During WWII the US was producing about 21 billion rounds of ammunition so the ability to produce more is possible.

          As an aside I recently bought a crossbow. The idea was to use it with specialized arrows and a line attached to the arrow to harvest fish on my boat. After some initial testing I am not sure how realistic that idea is. Bolts for a crossbow are a lot more fragile than I expected and the range is much less than what I expected.

    2. If I buy a gun, I buy a 1000 rounds with it whether I plan to use the gun at the range or not. Old habits. Neither will ever lose value. My friend buys 10,000 rounds for every gun he buys. We were young gun buyers when the Brady bill hit. Guns and ammo will always increase in value, especially if the world goes to hell.

  18. What if they came out with a kit from which you make a kit that makes a gun? Legal?

  19. I’m building a trebuchet this summer. Where do I get plates.

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