Guns

Biden's Plan to Stop Ghost Guns Is Doomed To Fail

"There's this growing gap between what's on paper and what is enforceable in law," says Kareem Shaya, the co-founder of Open Source Defense.

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On April 8, President Joe Biden requested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) issue a new rule banning the creation of so-called ghost guns as one of a handful of executive actions meant to curb gun violence following the recent mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado.

Ghost guns are unregistered firearms that weren't assembled by licensed gun manufacturers or sold in highly regulated gun shops, and they're most closely associated with Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed. Wilson first drew attention as the creator of the Liberator, a functional plastic gun that could be manufactured at home using a 3D printer. 

Today, Defense Distributed's signature product is the Ghost Gunner, a do-it-yourself milling machine the size of small printer that enables anyone with enough time and interest to create unregistered firearms simply by purchasing parts online, downloading specs from an online library like Wilson's DEFCAD, and assembling the final product.

Wilson says the units fly off the shelves every time a major politician so much as mentions gun control.

"As soon as Biden says, 'in 30 days you're going to lose your ghost guns,' everyone's like, 'I gotta buy a ghost gun!'" says Wilson.

Wilson is back at the helm of Defense Distributed after stepping away in 2018, following allegations that he paid a 16-year-old for sex after they met on the adult app Sugar Daddy Meet. The legal age of consent in Texas is 17 years old, and Wilson's defense team maintained that he believed her to be an adult. His plea deal required him to pay restitution, perform community service, register as a sex offender, and serve seven years probation that discourages him from purchasing new firearms. 

Defense Distributed has been fighting off federal and state legal challenges since its founding in 2012. Biden's requested rule change is the latest front in that legal battle. The president was vague on the details, but he has asked the DOJ to issue a new rule on ghost guns within 30 days. 

Wilson anticipates that the proposed regulation will classify more gun parts, such as the unfinished lower receiver that the Ghost Gunner modifies, as firearms that would each require registration numbers branded on them.

That was the rule change proposed by the nonprofit gun control advocacy organization Everytown for Gun Safety, which was founded by former New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg.

Wilson believes the rule change could drive up demand for DIY guns. 

"If it's actually more difficult to buy an [AR-15] upper receiver…because it's serialized and now I gotta go through the background check and everything, I'm now going to consider for the first time making an [AR-15] upper receiver," says Wilson. 

And while Wilson was a pioneer in the DIY gun space, Defense Distributed is now just one of many players, meaning that regulating ghost guns will be more of a challenge. 

"I think the interesting thing with these sorts of laws…is there's this growing gap between what's on paper and what is enforceable in law," says Kareem Shaya, a software engineer and co-founder of Open Source Defense, a gun rights organization mostly made up of engineers and Silicon Valley programmers seeking to distance the debate over the right to armed self-defense from the left-right culture war. 

"If you look at the path gun rights have taken over the past five years, really that is the story of gun rights moving from a world of politics to a world of culture," says Shaya. "In 2020, between 7 and 15 percent of the people who are gun owners today in the U.S. became gun owners in 2020, and the fastest-growing segments within that were black people and women."

In the tumultuous year of a pandemic, mass protests, riots, and a contested election, gun sales spiked across America and especially in big cities. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry trade association, says that more than 5 million registered gun sales in the first seven months of 2020 were to first-time buyers.

"The thing we find is as people learn about guns, they tend to be cool with them," says Shaya. "I think arguably YouTube and Twitter and Instagram are the biggest advances for gun rights of the past several decades…arguably more important than any actual gun technology in terms of spreading gun rights." 

In the COVID-19 era, the Biden White House is framing gun violence as a public health issue. But Wilson believes the career bureaucrats at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have long had these regulations ready to go and were just waiting for a president willing to enact them.

"Joe [Biden] was simply able to take advantage of what the [ATF] was already preparing and ready to do and kind of wanted to do for the last four years. So this might feel like a kind of warp drive or acceleration of the problem, but in fact, it's simply the problem of not being able to replace the permanent government bureaucracy that's installed in D.C.," says Wilson.

Biden is also proposing to ban pistol braces, appoint a gun control lobbyist to head the ATF, and push for more "red flag" laws that would allow police to confiscate someone's firearms if they determine that he "presents an imminent risk" to himself or others.

But Wilson says he isn't particularly worried about the effect that these rules will have on his business or on gun rights in America. 

Produced by Zach Weissmueller. B-roll shot by Mark McDaniel and Qinling Li. Additional graphics by Lex Villena. 

Photo credits: Jay Janner/TNS/Newscom; Sarah Reingewirtz/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Ted Soqui/Sipa USA/Newscom; Yuri Gripas/POOL via CNP/InStar/Cover Images/Newscom; CNP/AdMedia/Newscom; Jason Bergman/Sipa USA/Newscom

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  1. “banning the creation of so-called ghost guns as one of a handful of executive actions meant to curb gun violence following the recent mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado.”

    They should ban so called “knives, sticks, rocks, automobiles, and bath salts while they are at it. They weren’t used in those shootings mentioned either. They should also investigate the Acme company where the coyote gets his murderous weapons of war. The Roadrunner would appreciate it.

    1. They should also investigate the Acme company where the coyote gets his murderous weapons of war. The Roadrunner would appreciate it.

      Because of all the times Wile E. succeeded in blowing him up?

      1. Wile E. Coyote has excellent grounds for product liability suits alleging fraud, negligence, etc..

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    2. They should ban so called “knives”

      The ACLU has assured us that knife fighting is perfectly safe, and there’s no need to kill someone who is attacking you or somebody else with one.

      And ACME ought not sell to the Coyote since he’s using their products in a way that probably violates their warranty and makes the company look bad.

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    3. When you combine this with turning the Capital into a barbed-wire enclave, it’s hard not to think of the Warsaw uprising. An armed society is a polite society.

      And forgive the plug, but I’m giving away an e-book today. It’s Hamlet’s 2020 Vision: a recasting of Hamlet as the tragedy of the 2020 election. It’s a hoot, in my opinion.

      And the parallels! The Biden cabal as the usurping King Claudius, President Trump as the Ghost (still haunting the liberals, after all), Polonius the spymaster as the tech oligarchs, and Hamlet as All of Us, since we, like Hamlet, are trying to avenge the theft of a nation’s entire government in a way that reveals the illegitimacy of the usurping regime and restores the nation to legitimate rule. The book is here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=hamlet%27s+2020+vision&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss&tag=reasonmagazinea-20

  2. SleepyJoe is a failure.

    1. I love to replay the part of the video where Biden calls America’s gun issue “an international embarrassment.”

      If I were Joe Biden, I’d be really circumspect about ever using the phrase “international embarrassment.”

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  3. a gun rights organization mostly made up of engineers and Silicon Valley programmers seeking to distance the debate over the right to armed self-defense from the left-right culture war

    Nothing says, “I’m principally in favor of armed self-defense.” like distancing yourself from people who agree with you. So, the only real question is, did OSD say this or is Reason putting in the extra effort to shoehorn in a ‘both sides’ narrative and make them look unprincipled?

    1. This one’s simple: in 2021 if you’re not working for gun rights online, you’re not working for gun rights. Everything we do is online-first. Not because this can all be won from a keyboard — it’ll take more than that — but because this issue boils down to building culture, and culture starts and spreads online. So that’s the highest-leverage place to apply ourselves.

      Ah, my mistake, I forgot that both Reason and OSD could just be abjectly stupid.

      1. culture starts and spreads online

        “Fuck the majority of human history and indigenous tribes around the world. History started on Aug. 6, 1991.”

        1. Holy Shit!

          We don’t believe in the end of history, we think every day is the beginning of history.

          1. That’s some serious progspeak there.

            1. I was just astounded, and probably shouldn’t be, that they were earnestly living up to my satire as an ethos.

      2. Was looking for the link to AddictionMyth’s Twitter account.

    2. 100% gun rights,
      0% culture war
      The gun debate: a contest to see which side can demonize more people. Each side is trying to destroy the other. You win wars by force. And culture wars are no different. Each side fires their volleys back and forth, but the only thing they improve is the cable news ratings.

      We’re creating something better. We’re about making new gun owners and spreading gun rights — and that’s all. No name-calling or vitriol. We’re hardcore for gun rights, but always inclusive and friendly. Welcome to Open Source Defense.

      This does seem supremely naive. Not that I think they all need to become registered republicans, but we’re clearly dealing with some starry-eyed youths who believe you can take a position of “100% gun rights” and avoid the culture war. You can’t. Merely standing up and saying “I own a firearm” in some communities will cause the culture war to be visited upon you.

      As I have said in the past, “Sometimes War comes to you”.

      1. As I have said in the past, “Sometimes War comes to you”.

        It’s a pretty sanctimonious claim. If there were a social privilege, being able to honestly claim “I’m above any/all culture wars.” would be it.

        Old Saul’s rule: If you can’t identify the sucker at the poker table, you’re the sucker. Apparently, some suckers walk up to the table and say things like, “I’ll only play at this table as long as I’m not the sucker.” or “There are never any suckers at any of the tables I play at!”

        1. Or as Lenin said: “You may not take an interest in war, but war takes an interest in you.”

    3. He didn’t say “distance from the political right”. I say good for them for trying something anyway. The political right is pretty OK when it comes to guns. Someone has to convince people on the left, or people who want nothing to do with the usual political fights if we are to protect gun rights.

      1. It’s not new. It’s between pure salesmanship, sellilng something old as something new, and proggie newspeak:

        Begging politicians to do the right thing is a waste of time. Culture drives politics, not the other way around. So we focus on culture.

        Maybe this is how you cater to a portion of the market today but, how and where I grew up, saying “We’re 0% culture. Instead we focus on culture.” is dishonest and infantalizing.

  4. how you guys liking your new president?

    1. It’s almost the end of April and she hasn’t even given a press conference yet!

      Or did you mean Joe?

    2. You know how things are going when you find out that it’s been over three months and they still haven’t had to change the original “kick me” sign on his back.

  5. Wrong within normal parameters… so I sleep at night.

  6. Joe Biden will tell us what to do. Kamala Harris is heading to the border to raise all the kids herself. The earth will be cleansed of humankind by 2030. All minorities will be raised up in the rapture.

    1. “The earth will be cleansed of humankind by 2030.”

      A little early, but probably technically feasible.

      1. Mandatory overtime at the vaccine companies. And scattered bullwhips.

    2. Technically Harris plans to visit the border virtually from a donuts shop in Chicago according to leaks from the White House. Jen Psaki confirmed that by saying she would circle back and quickly forgetting the question. Biden was last seen wandering aimlessly but masked in a hardware store.

      1. Jen Psaki confirmed that by saying she would circle back and quickly forgetting the question. Biden was last seen wandering aimlessly but masked in a hardware store.

        Circling back and forgetting questions as policy.

  7. We really shouldn’t play into their hands by using the media narrative’s moral panic terms. “Identity theft” doesn’t mean somebody will lock you in a closet, walk into your job, sleep with your wife, and no one will realize it’s not really you–because they stole your identity. “Identity theft” is a catchphrase largely coined and propagated by the news media for moral panic purposes. If you want to sell newspapers and stop people from changing the channel, you call it “identity theft” instead of credit fraud. And if you want to create a moral panic or profit from it in some way, you refer to gun kits as “ghost guns”.

    They’re gun kits for enthusiasts. The Colt 1911 is heavily favored by these kit companies, and the appeal for a lot of people is that the gun is still a valid option for self defense purposes more than a hundred years after it was designed. It’s reliable. It was designed by an American. It’s beautiful. It’s effective. Parts and components are widely available (barrels, triggers, etc.) And the 1911 is still manufactured as a luxury gun for enthusiastic customers today by companies like Wilson Combat (no affiliation with Cody Wilson to the best of my knowledge).

    The other great thing about the 1911 is that the design is so simple, you can make one from a kit, using a glob of metal they send you for the purpose and only using the tools they send with the kit and/or using the tools you probably already have in your garage. This appeals to the rugged individualist or the DIY type.

    People grind themselves a Colt 1911 for the same reasons they build themselves a cabin, restore their own hot rod, or fix their own motorcycle. Some people like to build their own computers, grow their own heirloom tomatoes, catch their own fish, build their own sailboat, or bake their own bread. Inventing scary labels for such people is absurd.

    Oh, and in reference to the “ghost” part–why shouldn’t they be forced to register guns they make for themselves?

    The problem with registering every firearm is that it’s a necessary step in creating a national database of owners. Even if they aren’t keeping a database of such owners right now, requiring everyone who owns a gun to register it is the first, necessary step before they can start requiring the FBI, or whomever, to start keeping that owner information in a database–for future confiscation purposes.

    And there’s a chilling effect associated with treating everyone like potential criminals–even the 99.9% of gun owners who have never even pointed a gun at anyone much less been convicted of a crime. Because someone likes the idea of making their own 1911 doesn’t mean they should be subjected to feeling like they’re now on a list kept by the FBI of people who should be under suspicion as potential gun criminals. The legitimate purpose of government isn’t to intimidate 99.9% of the people out there who like to do something–because they like to do something that isn’t illegal or wrong.

    1. The problem with registering every firearm is that it’s a necessary step in creating a national database of owners.

      Actually, they are mutual requisites. A list of firearms printed in the state of IL is just a bunch of bits stored in EEPROM unless there is a database of guns printed in WI, MI, and IN too. The list necessitates a database and the database necessitates the list and both necessitate a larger effort to maintain and upkeep both.

      I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard “Just make a database.” entirely devoid of the notion that it actually means more effort or, as is more apt and worse, with full knowledge of the effort it will take to conform reality to the database.

      As always, gun control is just a stalking horse for people control.

    2. The point the freedom side always fails to make in these articles and videos is that making your own firearms with no serial number requirements has always been 100% legal in America. The politicians want to make it sound like it hasn’t, like it’s some new thing that has to be outlawed. It’s not a new thing, we’ve always had it, it’s just never been significantly popular. What scares the politicians is it’s beginning to become popular.

  8. When I was laid off a few years ago, I was learning new CAD software so I did machine drawings for every component of every gun that I own. With a Bridgeport and a small metal lathe, I could reverse engineer each weapon into something that I could make. I don’t because it is more expensive than just buying a new gun. That id rapidly changing.

    1. I don’t think the cost of guns will be prohibitive anytime soon. Ammo on the other hand…

      1. Cast bullets, drawn brass or steel, and cordite is likely cheap and/or makeable in a pinch. Primers, OTOH…

        1. What was the last group, rebel, terrorist, freedom fighter, or other to successfully defend itself with cast bullets? The Colonies? The Mormons?

          1. Israeli Hagana, 1947. They were turning lipstick tubes into casings, invented the uzi, and who knows what else.

        2. Homemade steel bullets would probably be far more dangerous to anyone being shot at than commercially produced copper-jacketed projectiles. Especially to anyone wearing Kevlar for protection; imagine the irony if anti-gunner ammo restrictions ended up forcing home-loaders to produce more armor-piercing rounds.

          Someone would figure out a way to establish a black market for primers if the Govt were to create the need for one.

        3. Primers are the Achilles heel of the entire firearms culture, and I’m glad the gun controllers haven’t figured that out yet. Guns? Easy to manufacture using common materials and equipment. Bullets? Ditto. Cartridges? Ditto. Propellant? Not hard.

          But the primers? Very much a specialty item, there are very few manufacturers, and virtually everything but a flintlock is useless without one.

          1. I wonder if a sparkplug could be adapted for the purpose? Caseless ammo was a “thing” a few decades ago.

            1. Actually, been reading up on it, and homemade primers absolutely are a thing. Not even that much more difficult than reloading.

              Homemade primer course.

          2. Primers are no more difficult than many other components. There are numerous substitutes for lead styphnate too. Lead azide, mercury fulminate, etc, etc. With fuming nitric acid virtually any primary explosive can be made and fuming nitric acid is as simple as distillation of potassium nitrate or other nitrate salt + sulfuric acid which is far too common industrially to effectively control.

      2. The closer they get to a ban, the higher the prices. If they get rid of the lawsuit protection for gun manufacturers, it all goes out the window.

      3. Took a clue from 2013-14 and started buying any and all “deals” on reloading components, which was great through most of the “Trump slump.” Got enough on hand that I am not worried, but it would be a bitch if that had to last me for the next 20 years.

        Primers are definitely the bottleneck in the ammo shortage, but now power is going for over $100 a # if you can find it. Bullets are still available at “normal” prices, and brass can also be had.

        Hoping that the reopening of the “Big Green” factory in AS will help.

        1. Stuff on youtube indicates Remington is coming out of bankruptcy and will start producing at normal levels. But primers seem to be the bottle neck.

      4. Sure, not prohibitive, but Im not shelling out 1200+ for a P220, when I couldve bought one for 350 2 years ago.

  9. If they really wanted to lower gun violence they’d end drug prohibition.

    1. Notice the near-complete silence from DC about this, though. Tells me that it’s not about improvement at all, just about control.

      1. If dope is re-legalized, then the bribe checks will stop flowing into politicians’ pockets.

  10. Stupid article is stupid. Of course it’s doomed to fail.
    Not worth the excerise to scribble down obvious statements

  11. We should probably find a better term than ghost guns, since proggies already think guns have supernatural powers.

    1. “Liberty Defenders”. Who could oppose that?

      1. 50+% of the electorate?

  12. Sure, it’s obviously doomed to fail to the extent it’s aimed at people like me: Mechanical engineers with shop experience. Or machinists. Or even proficient hobbyists.

    We’ll always be able to whip up untraceable guns.

    I think this aims at two things:

    1) Keeping the number of people who can build untraceable, and more importantly, unrecorded, guns, limited. Keep it from becoming too common to demonize successfully.

    2) Interrupting the creation of new gun manufacturers.

    Just like there’s a regular progression from home brewer to craft brewery, there’s a regular progression from hobby gun maker to small firearms manufacturer. In either case, most don’t go pro, but the more hobbyists there are, the more who WILL go pro.

    If they can discourage hobby gun manufacture, they can keep down the number of professional gun manufacturers, to a manageable number that they can keep an eye on and lean on as necessary.

    Whereas, if there were remotely as many gun manufacturers as there are craft breweries, all hope of effective regulation would be gone.

    1. > Whereas, if there were remotely as many gun manufacturers as there are craft breweries, all hope of effective regulation would be gone.

      Please stop. I can only get so hard. 😀

    2. One thing I wonder (as another engineer with experience working with design/analysis of machined parts). Is there actually a limitation of these machines that would require any change other than a different CNC program in order to make AR lowers from blank billets rather than “80%” lowers?

      At some point, they can’t keep regulating any and all pieces of metal as if they’re a “firearm”. A piece of aluminum plate can be made into almost anything that’ll fit within its dimensions (including a reciever for an AR-type rifle), and the vast majority of those things aren’t subject to any strict legal controls.

      In 5-10 years, this tech will be well under $1k, and there’ll be a house on every block in every suburb that’d be theoretically capable of producing “ghost guns” in some degree of quantity. At least sufficient to arm everyone in the neighborhood in 30-60 days (assuming barrels, uppers, stocks and other unregulated components can be obtained in sufficient quantities).

      1. The Biden proposal is already at that point, counting anything you can convert into a receiver in 8 hours in a proper shop as a gun.

        That’s a billet.

        1. That’s more than a billet. Assuming it doesn’t strictly apply to AR-15 receivers but any numbered firearm component and anything that can be used to make it, it’s sheet metal, bar stock, welders, etc.

          1. Granted, technically that’s a bag of soda cans and a bag of charcoal.

            Either way it’s insane.

            1. 8 hrs probably isn’t enough time to melt down the cans, cast an ingot, roll that to a plate and temper the plate with enough time left over for machining.

              It’s probably enough time to cast a P80 lower from a bag of raw polymer and finish machining it to the point of being able to build it into a “Glock”, though.

              1. Lost wax casting and some cleanup machining. You can get filaments suitable for lost wax casting that you use in 3d printers.

                1. You’d still need to temper the casting to have any chance of it being usable (the 3004 alloy used in Cans is only 75% as strong as the 6061 Alloy that’s the weaker of the alloys used to make commercial AR receivers (7075 is more than twice the strength of can alloys), and that’s before taking account of the possibility of voids/porosity in a cast part which will degrade durability as well as strength.

                  lost wax/styrofoam casting with scrap aluminum is great for making decorative items or maybe even light-duty machine parts, but I wouldn’t trust my life to being the one holding an AR with a lower made of that stuff in any scenario where I’d be pulling the trigger more than a few times, range time included.

        2. In the 80s, a talented machinist built a fully automatic rifle out of a junk Volvo in less than eight hours, to protest a contemporaneous BATF court ruling which use that as a standard for the legal term “convertible.” The craft hasn’t gotten any harder since then.

      2. “Is there actually a limitation of these machines that would require any change other than a different CNC program in order to make AR lowers from blank billets rather than “80%” lowers?”

        If you are talking about the ghost gunner mills for finishing 80% lowers I don’t think they have the robustness and general design to 100% mill a receiver from a block of aluminum. A commercial CNC mill will make anything you program it to make.

        If they push their restrictions too far what what you are going to see being made in home workshops in 5 or 10 years are 100% scratch built CNC sub machine guns that fire from an open bolt. By far the easiest designs to scratch build.

  13. > “[T]he fastest-growing segments within that were black people and women.”

    No wonder Biden is so worried.

    1. Perhaps he suspects they are not all clean and articulate.

  14. Philip Luty built a 9mm submachine gun from common hardware-store components. Google him and down load his book.

    1. During WWII, the Brits spent about 8 dollars each to make Sten guns. Many of these were made in local machine shops (including on farms and in repair garages).

      Stens are FAR easier to make than an AR-15 or a 1911, and the handful of smart people at the ATF would really rather have all of the noise go away — before homebuilders figure that, if they’re going to be demonized (or prosecuted) anyway, they might as well make Stens, or select-fire ARs.

  15. Question: You are pissed off at the world and want to take revenge by killing people, already having decided you will be killed or commit suicide.
    Do you take your unregistered single shot plastic gun, or a registered, commercially manufactured semi-automatic rifle or handgun?
    Answer: You picked the single shot plastic gun, it’s not registered!
    Great choice, that should shut down mass shootings! (sarc)

    1. Not that I have any intent to do something like that, but if I did, I’d take a shot gun.

      1. If I were going to take the time to get or build a 3D printer, get or make plans, print, assemble, and test it, I’m pretty sure I’d come up with a much better plan/weapon than a gun. Especially if I just wanted to kill indiscriminately. Guns are pretty directional and co-incidental.

      2. Single shot? Side by side double barrel? Over and under? Pump? Semi-auto? Or a homemade shotgun from a piece of pipe?
        Bird shot, 00 or Buckshot, or some homemade ammo?
        The inference that someone would use a ghost gun in a mass shooting is ridiculous. Maybe if you want to murder one person, but even then they still need the gun to do ballistics, and ballistics is no different if a gun is registered or not, registration is not the issue.

      3. An excellent choice, especially since if teal ones were made unavailable to you, you wouldn’t need a fancy CNC milling machine to make your own, just a 2 x 4, a pipe nipple, and a nail.

  16. “I think the interesting thing with these sorts of laws…is there’s this growing gap between what’s on paper and what is enforceable in law,”

    Good; what we need are so many unenforceable laws that none of them matter any more. That and State nullification.

  17. Ghost guns are Biden’s version of Trump’s bump stocks. Both attack directly only a number of citizens small enough for them to ignore and who’s rights they can revoke solely with their executive branch power. Both Biden and Trump got to impose gun control to appease those screaming “Do something” and do it quickly for a low political price.

    Only Biden’s and Trump’s cowardice has so far saved us from the worst of their authoritarianism.

    1. Except, once again, Trump issued a narrow reinterpretation at the spur of the moment while Biden issues a much broader reinterpretation as part of a multi-pronged effort that he’s spent 40 yrs. supporting.

      1. And Trump may have done it expecting the courts to shoot it down, while Biden expects it to survive by threats of Court packing.

        1. Then Biden is delusional because the writing is already on the wall for so called “ghost gun” regulation in the 6th circuit panel’s decision in Gun Owners of America v Garland. The court found among other things that the government was not entitled to Chevron deference because the statute at issue was a criminal statute and that the classification of a bumpstock as a machine gun was completely inconsistent with federal law which the executive branch had no power to change.

          https://www.opn.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/21a0070p-06.pdf

  18. Unka Doughey forgets, or does not have sufficient brain cells functioning to ever have comprehended, that he’s got a wee bit of a bother on this score: DOJ and BATF are part of the EXECUtivE branch, and NOT part of the LEGISLATIVE branch. The US Constituoin, which he swore to uphol,d defend, and execute faiuthfully declares ALL LAWS shall be enacgd by the LEGISLATIVE branch, NOT executive.
    Separation of powers IS a thing, and a vital one.

    These nitwits are all in a lather over these “ghost guns” which they moan are put into the hands of individuals WITHOUT going throughthe background check approval process. So what? I;m not very old, but I certainly remember walking into a gun or hardware or even a Sears and Roebuck store when I was a kid (as in somewhere arnd ten years of aGe) and buying ammunition, no one knew who I was even. Easily could have bought a rifle when I was fifteen, didn’t want to spend the money on that just then. When I was 18 I could and did go buy a gun no ID, the dude at the counter never even asked my name. Still have that one. and “no one knows about it”. What’s the difference between that one and one of Cody Wilson’s built from code guns, except that the one I bought then has lasted me several decades and is now worth a few times wht I paid for it back then. And guess what else? Ive never shot anyone with it, nor has anyone else. So what’s the problem?
    They let convicted felons found with guns walk out of jail the next day, if they even book them. They demand people like ME inform them of all manner of details of which they have NO NEED TO KNOW. Now they want even more…while they spring theones actually shooting innocents back onto the streets to do it again.. typically within a few months.

    Lock THOSE guys up once they shoot an innocent….. and we WILL find that the number of such incidents drops.

  19. Kinda like generals are always ready to fight the last war. This horse is already out of the barn.

    I am reminded of what seems like the long ago case Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984). Not to mention how ripping CDs to get music and movies and uploading them to Pirate Bay changed the way entertainment was distributed. Not only is Pirate Bay still going strong there are too many other places like it to count. Don’t get me started on the so called dark web where buying small arms is likely the least serious crime.

    With apologies to Bob Dylan and a nod to shaking the windows and rattling the walls on 6 Jan.

    Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
    ‘Cause the battle outside ragin’
    Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
    For the times, they are a-changin’

  20. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the soviet regulation of printing presses it’s that the people can never be allowed to control the means of production. Say goodbye to your 3D printers friends. Only the state can be trusted to produce things that you need, such as food.

    1. 3D printers are almost completely irrelevant. Only a tiny fraction of home made guns have any 3D printed component. Most are finished from commercially manufactured 80% receivers and frames that have never seen a 3D printer. Polymer 80 being one of the largest manufacturers. As far as higher degree of fabrication up to and including making parts from scratch the future of that is CNC not 3D printing.

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  21. They should also investigate the Acme company where the coyote gets his murderous weapons of war. The Roadrunner would appreciate it.

  22. Yes, The Biden’s plan doesn’t matter on this.
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  23. Biden, etc have problems here for several reasons. To start with the regulation are based on and dependent upon statutes, most notably the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934. The ATF is already in trouble with AR-15s, since they defined Firearms to include AR lower receivers, despite the NFA, which defines such by functionality, and the statute also requires upper receiver functionality. Thus, legally, an AR-15 should be the upper and lower receivers bolted together by their take down pins.

    The way that the ATF gets away with this interpretation is through formal APA rule making. Agencies can fill in the gaps in statutes this way. And typically the courts defer to the agency’s expertise through Chevron Deference. Except in this case, the agency interpretation is based on Executive Order (EO), which has no basis in agency expertise. And even if there were such expertise, the NFA is a criminal statute restricting an enumerated (2nd Amdt) fundamental right, thus requiring Strict Scrutiny review, which is highly critical, and not highly deferential, to agency interpretation. Moreover, there is a 60 year history of the ATF defining the AR-15 part that constitutes the Firearm under the NFA, and thus serial numbered and sold through an FFL, to be the lower receiver, and not the other parts that can be added.

    1. Then we get into the legal underpinnings of the underlying statutes (notably the NFA). Our federal government has limited, enumerated powers. Legislation, along with attendant APA rule making, must be supported (or Constitutionally justified) based on a explicit power grant in the Constitution. As is fairly common, the NFA (etc) is supported by Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce. The way t works right now is that manufacture of a firearm to be sold or transferred in Interstate Commerce requires a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from tHE ATF. Build your own, for personal use, it doesn’t pass through Interstate Commerce, and it thus isn’t subject to ATF regulation under the NFA. Of course, the opposite is also true, that selling the firearm does affect Interstate Commerce and thus, under the NFA, requires sale trough an FFL, which, in turn requires an approved form of a serial number.

      Further regulating the creation of AR-15s (etc) involves statutory interpretations, that would allow changing the formal regulations affecting the ATF’s legal treatment of the firearms. But because they affect an enumerated fundamental right the regulations would be subject to increased Scrutiny instead of the much more deferential Rational Basis standard. Critically here, empty platitudes about mass killings and how dangerous the firearms should have no legal weight, unless well supported by factual data – which, of course, doesn’t exist, since these firearms are very rarely used to commit crimes. Mere hand waving, which is all that is required under Rational Basis analysis, has no weight under increased (likely Strict) Scrutiny.

    2. Per SCOTUS Chevron deference does not apply to criminal statutes. United States v Apel (2014). This case was cited specifically in Gun owners of America v Garland when a 3 judge panel of the 6th circuit ruled against the bumpstock ban.

      https://www.opn.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/21a0070p-06.pdf
      (page 10)

      1. Thanks for the reminder. The NFA (GCA, etc) are penal statutes, and thus the agencies (e.g. ATF) interpreting them against civilians are not due any Chevron deference.

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  25. This article is a bunch of puff and no substance. It doesn’t explain why trying to regulate so called “ghost guns” by Executive action is doomed to fail and the reason is simple: The executive branch cannot modify existing law or make new law and they would have to do just that to regulate lumps of plastic and metal that may someday become firearms by redefining “firearm” in federal law which the executive branch cannot do. Chevron deference won’t help them either a. Because it does not apply to criminal statutes and b. Because the definition of a firearm in federal law is not ambiguous. Trump tried this with bumpstocks and that ban lost before a panel of the 6th circuit in Gun Owners of America v Garland with the 6th circuit stating what I just wrote.

    Also, sex offender Cody Wilson is not the foremost authority on home made guns he is made out to be. Polymer 80 moves more product in a day than he does in a year. What he is talking about with regard to AR-15 upper receivers being serialized I have no idea either.

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  27. Then there those of us with sufficient resources and skills to build machine shops from scrapped out machining tools. In my shop I have made replacement rifled barrels for three hand guns an made one long gun from basic stock metals. It took me years to do that, but I did do it well and now have 4 long barreled highly accurate guns with “iron” sights, and commercial common springs. They are all autoloading. The rifle shoots revolver .38 special ammunition, and holds accuracy out to 270 yards, right hand twist with 8 lands.

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