Saturday, July 28, 2018

Fully Semiautomatic

This week's "Chicken Little" rant is by Chuck Schumer. According to Schumer, the decision that the first amendment allowed for someone to post schematics for a 3D printable gun makes the United States "a lot less safe." Not to be left out, NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal sent a “cease and desist” letter to Defense Distributed saying that they must stop because their plans could be used to make assault weapons that are illegal in NJ.

So, what's the brouhaha all about? Should we all be hiding under our desks?

The Company

According to their wed site, Defense Distributed is a non-profit, private defense firm principally engaged in the research, design, development, and manufacture of products and services for the benefit of the American rifleman. Since 2012, DD has been headquartered in Austin, Texas.

The principle is this: the United States has always recognized the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. That has always meant that you could defend yourself without the government's permission. The best way to ensure that the government cannot abrogate these rights is to have the means of production in the hands of private citizens. To put it in geek speak, you can't stop the signal. The same principle as youtube, google, social media, etc. supposedly espouse.

To that end, Defense Distributed has two "products." One is DEFCAD, which unfortunately results in this for me.
Thanks Mr. Grewal, or whoever. However, Wikipedia says this about it:
DEFCAD, Inc. is an Austin-based startup that has created a search engine and web portal for designers and hobbyists to find and develop 3D printable and other CAD models online launched by Defense Distributed.
The other is GhostGunner, which takes its name from the term CA state senator Kevin DeLeon used in his infamous nonsensical rant on "untraceable" guns. GhostGunner is a CNC mill that can be used to machine a firearm out of a preformed metal billet. [Update: upon further research the GhostGunner can only perform the last few steps of machining - it requires what is known as an "80% lower" - a gun part which is mostly machines but requires a few holes to be drilled/milled in order to make it operational.]

What Does This Mean?

So, what does this technology give people that they didn't have before? Well, to patriots, this means their government can no longer complete stop the means of self defense, unless they block the web sites, and make it illegal to manufacture a firearm, like they have in New Jersey. But to the rest of the country, where it is already legal to make an item for personal use for lawful self defense, this is a boon, and makes lawful self defense more accessible and safer for people.

But what about criminals? Couldm't they now use this to make "untraceable" guns? Well, there are two parts to that. First off, why is it important to be bale to "trace" guns? Maryland, for instance, considered it so important that they created a "gun fingerprint" database to track every gun in the state so it could be easily "traced" to solve crimes. After 15 years using the database police were able to use it to solve... zero crimes. That's right, the ability to trace firearms did not change the outcome of a single criminal investigation in 15 years. The database was eventually scrapped as a waste of money. So forgive me if I yawn when we hear that untraceable guns will enable criminals.

The second part is, does this technology make it easier for criminals to make "untraceable" guns? Emphatically no. If you were a criminal, and wanted to make an "untraceable" gun under the mistaken impression that somehow you would be able to get away with crimes because of it, you can either: buy a GhostGunner CNC platform, download plans for a gun, purchase the appropriate types and grades of metal, fabricate the frame of the gun (which is the serialized part), purchase all the other parts you need (barrel, grips, trigger and trigger mechanism, slide, firing pin, springs, safeties, etc.), then assemble them all and hand tune the parts to make a working gun, all for a cost of about $1,500 to $2,000; OR buy an existing gun on the streets for $200, buy a file for $5 and file off the serial number.

While it is feasible to do the former, and stay within federal law (filing off a serial number is illegal), I would bet a criminal would choose the latter method, or if he is smart, not care about the gun being "traceable" because that won't affect him in any way.

So, if you really want to stop "untraceable" guns (and why you'd want to do that is questionable), the thing to ban is not the 3D printer, but the thing pictured at the top of this post.


Post a Comment