you cannot stop the signal

This post will be a slight departure from the norm, but it should be worth it.  A while back, I departed on the adventure of building a Glock-like firearm without using a single Glock OEM part, just for the sake of doing it.  Personally, I am much more a CZ person, and have never understood the attraction of Glocks, but I also love building firearms, and the Austrian bricks are some of the most-heavily-supported when it comes to aftermarket parts.

I chose to use a receiver/frame from Lone Wolf Distributors, but if I had a drill press, I could have had one of these delivered to my door, no FFL, no paperwork, no background check, nothing:

cobalt_3_of_3__2

That carefully-formed piece of plastic is not legally considered a firearm, given that you cannot currently install the trigger group, recoil assembly, slide, or other essential parts.  However, after less than a day of work with a drill press and a few other basic tools, you will have a full-operational Glock-like frame.  And if you never sell it, it never even has to be serialized.

No doubt the “gun control” extremists are already lining up to figure out a way to shut this company down.

Ok, fine, here are the blueprints necessary to build an AR-15 receiver out of sheets of aluminum.  No joke.

scratch-built-ar-15-lower-receiver

And lest any “gun control” useful idiot get the bright idea of trying to get WordPress to pull down the blueprints, do not fret – I have them backed up on my computer, and will happily host them elsewhere on the internet.

Oh, we cannot forget the mad genius who successfully built a fully-operational AK-47-pattern rifle out of an old shovel and junk parts.  I am not even close to kidding.  It was even capable of keeping all ten spam-can rounds inside the 10-ring at 50 yards.

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So what are you going to do now, folks?  Ban shovels and hammers?  You might as well try to ban the Khyber Pass as a whole.

For heaven’s sake, jewelers down in “gun control” utopia Australia are supplying bikie gangs with sub-machine guns and silencers.  Inmates in German prisons are building shotguns.  And apparently staple guns have become a platform of choice for improvised firearms.

And that is a core concept that “gun control” extremists simply refuse to comprehend – you cannot ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate firearms in any meaningful way.  Or, as some of my friends like to put it, “engineers > politicians”.  The truth of the matter is if “gun controllers” get their way and make the ownership of a previously-lawful semi-automatic rifle as illegal as owning an open-bolt, short-barreled, fully-automatic rifle… well, Aisle 6 at your local Home Depot has all the parts necessary to make the latter.  And given how easy it is to make the fully-automatic firearm – variations were literally being produced in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation – why would anyone bother with the less-capable rifle?

In turn, I think that is a core concept that the pro-rights advocates do not comprehend as well.  “Gun control” extremists do not want to regulate firearms.  They do not even want to regulate you.  They want to destroy knowledge, pure and simple.  Though, if they could kill a few peaceful, law-abiding Americans along the way, a disturbing number of them would be sanguine with that (and this is a mere sample of the screencaps I have).

GunControlWantsYouDead

Not only do they want to ban “assault weapons”, they would be absolutely ecstatic if no one could ever make one ever again.  One need only look at their outrage over the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act for an example of this – “gun control” extremists attempted to use lawfare against firearm manufacturers by suing them over the criminal misuse of their products.  The government rightly stepped in and said, “this is dumb,” and the wailing and gnashing of teeth that continues to this day borders on “epic”.

To put it another way, “gun control” is another variation – both morally and functionally – to book-burning… but at least the book-burners were – and, sadly, are – more honest about their motivations.

And lest you think I am being hyperbolic in my comparison, consider the recent YouTube Terms of Service changes wherein they banned any content that included perfectly-legal activities such as demonstrating how to reload ammunition.  The only possible motivation behind this move is to attempt to suppress knowledge and limit its spread – just like with book burnings.

60b

(Note:  Since YouTube is a private corporation, they can set whatever standards they want for the content they host; however, let us be honest about the situation and call it what it is – pure censorship.)

But just as the printing press removed the power of book-burners, so too is the internet rendering “gun control” extremists impotent.  They can no longer control the narrative.  They can no longer massage the message.  They can no longer spout their lies unchallenged.

The truth will out, whether they want it to or not.  That is, after all, one of the reasons I started the “graphics matter” series of posts here – to demonstrate that so much of the information and arguments used by the “gun control” extremists is fundamentally flawed, if not outright dishonest.  That is also why such things as the Ghost Gunner exist – the democratization of technology will ultimately render “gun control” a meaningless phrase, and that is why they hate it.

And that is part of the reason I like assembling firearms at home.  Sure, sue the manufacturers into oblivion.  Shut down the FFLs.  You cannot stop the signal.

So on to the build itself.

Continue reading “you cannot stop the signal”

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enforce the laws on the books

One would think, given their endless clamoring for more laws, regulations, and restrictions, “enforce the laws on the books” would be a notion that “gun control” extremists would agree with.

Sadly, one would be wrong.

Consider, for example, the peculiar case of Scott Pappalardo.

On 17FEB18, in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting three days prior, Scott filmed himself cutting up his 30-year-old AR-15 in an attempt to virtue-signal his support for “gun control”.

In the process, he also committed a federal felony.

Specifically, Scott Pappalardo illegally made a short-barreled rifle (SBR) without paying the appropriate tax stamp, and in so doing, he violated at least sections (c), (d), and (f) of the 26 United States Code § 5861.  Per the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives National Firearms Act Handbook, this offense can carry up to a 10 year prison sentence and up to a $250,000 fine.

Bear in mind this is a strict liability offense – neither mens rea nor intent factors into the specific law.  Intent only applies to the creation of the rifle itself; once the rifle already exists, taking a hacksaw to the barrel, regardless of whether you intend to make an SBR or knew that doing so would create an SBR, is a crime, all by itself.

It is worth noting that Scott did, eventually, also cut up the receiver; however, he only cut it once, and with the same saw.  There seems to be some disagreement over the legal requirements to destroy a firearm, but, regardless, he cut the barrel first, thereby making the SBR, before he arguably destroyed the evidence of the crime.

To my knowledge, as of this post’s date, Mr. Pappalardo has not been arrested or charged with the appropriate crime(s).  That is, unfortunately, to be expected; prosecutorial discretion – i.e. selective enforcement of the law – is a time-honored loophole for useful idiots that the government wants to protect, or at least does not want to pursue.  But what is really interesting is how the “gun control” community has reacted to this law-breaker.

MomsDemandScottPappalardoThey are holding him up as a hero.

Around the country, “gun control” extremists are referring to Scott as “level-headed, conscientious”, “a man with a conscience and a soul”, a “good man”, and so forth.  Others hoped other firearm owners would replicate his “powerful statement”.  Even the local chapter of a “gun control” astroturf farm stuck their hand in the blender, describing Scott’s actions as “commendable”.  They later deleted that tweet – I wonder why?

And much like school shooters themselves, the popularity and media attention showered on Scott Pappalardo has prompted copycats, notably Karen Mallard, who happens to be running for Congress out of district VA-02.  She, at least, had the presence of mind to delete her video from Facebook and YouTube after scores of people pointed out that she was violating federal laws, but, as they say, the internet is forever [Update: it appears I spoke too soon about Karen’s wisdom – she reposted the video on her Facebook page]:

Once again, she cut the barrel first.  In Karen’s case, I have no idea if she ever got around to cutting up the receiver – the part of the firearm that is legally considered The Firearm – so she may still have an illegal, and illegally-made SBR on her hands.  So far as I know, there is no clause in the Constitution preventing felons from serving in Congress, but I imagine the 10-year sentence might get in the way of her aspirations.  Assuming she is prosecuted, of course… which she will not be, of course.

In both cases, if Scott or Karen had simply adequately destroyed the receiver first, we would all be shaking our heads at the senseless destruction of perfectly functional firearms, but no crime would have been committed.  Hell, if they had simply removed the uppers from the lowers first, they still would not have committed a crime (though we are entering into an uncomfortable grey area there).  However, cutting the barrel of a rifle to less than 16 inches, while it is still attached to the rifle, is very much a crime, with some very stiff penalties.

Lest anyone think I am joking about the severity of this felony, allow me to remind you that a man’s dog, son, and wife were all murdered by government agents – the last while unarmed and literally holding their 10-month-old child in her arms – all because he cut the barrel of a few firearms about 3/8″ too short.  Karen Mallard and Scott Pappalardo cut their barrels about a foot too short, and thanks to them “trying to do the right thing”, they will escape prosecution.

And, you know what?  I am sanguine with that.  You see, this situation is a win-win for the pro-rights community.

One of two things will happen:

  1. The Federal Government will prosecute these numerous “unconvicted felons”.  In that case, yes, the laws on the books will be enforced, which will be a perfect opportunity to demonstrate just how ridiculous malum prohibitum laws are, and, let us be honest – 99% of firearm laws are malum prohibitum.  Histrionics and hysterics aside, SBRs are no more dangerous than any other rifle or handgun, and the additional tax stamp and background check to make or purchase them is patently ridiculous.
  2. The Federal Government will decline to prosecute these virtue-signallers who helpfully recorded their felonies on tape.  In that case, I guess we are not enforcing the laws on the books, which calls into question why we have the laws to begin with, if we are not going to bother prosecuting people who violate them.

And all the while, the “gun control” extremists and organizations are trapped in an absolutely delicious Morton’s Fork.  Either they mount their white knight atop his valiant steed and come to the defense of these ignoramuses who committed rather serious federal felonies, or they throw these useful idiots under the bus and ignore the Holy and Glorious Deed they were attempting to accomplish.  Because a felony committed for The Right Reason is acceptable, right?

Like I said, it is a win-win… for the folks on the right side of history.

So what is it going to be, “gun control” extremists?  Shall we enforce the laws on the books, and throw these would-be do-gooders – in your universe, at least – in a federal penitentiary, as they deserve?

Or shall we ignore their offenses, because reasons?

And if we do ignore people breaking the law when it is convenient, remind me again why we should take your mewling for more laws seriously?

enforce-all-the-laws

(NOTE:  I am not a lawyer, I am not your lawyer, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night.  Nothing I say here should be construed as legal advice or guidance.)

the ineffectiveness of “assault weapon bans”, part 3

Once again, I will have some pictures for you to consider, but first a little backstory.

One of the favorite arguments of those who support “assault weapon bans” is that a purpose/goal of the prohibitions is to keep “military” or “military-style” firearms out of the hands of private citizens.

Ignore, for a moment, that at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification, every long arm, short arm, or other firearm-like device was both “military” and in the hands of private citizens.  Likewise, ignore that the Second Amendment was written to preserve exactly that kind of arrangement.

And, finally, ignore the entire concept of “military-style” – after all, how does the physical appearance of a device affect its actual performance?  After all, this looks a lot like this, but I guarantee you they are radically different (the first is an airsoft device, to begin with).

So, the remaining question is “Do ‘assault weapon bans’ actually keep military hardware out of the hands of American citizens?”

Well, here are your three firearms for consideration:

A:  

1891

B:

1926

C:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And your first question: which of these are “military firearms”?

If you answered anything but “B”, I hate to break it to you, but you are wrong.

A is not legally considered a firearm, considering that it is a first-generation Mosin-Nagant Model 1891, and was thus produced before 1899.  Even if the firearm-looking device is an exact duplicate of a firearm still currently being made and using still-available ammunition, if that specific firearm-looking device left an assembly line before 1899, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms considers it to be an “antique”.

Granted, Mosins are not still being produced, but the Model 1891 featured above does chamber still-commercially-produced 7.62x54r ammunition.  However, thanks to its “antique” designation, it can be mail-ordered without involving a Federal Firearm Licensee – after all, it is not a firearm.

Firearm or not, it is almost a guarantee that the entirety of the first generation of Mosins saw service in the Soviet Union at some point, simply because between 1891 and now that country has been involved in almost non-stop conflicts, both external and internal.

B is a Finnish M91 produced between 1926 and 1927, and it almost unquestionably was a military firearm, courtesy of that country’s incessant border disputes with Russia, and that whole unpleasantness in the 1940s.

C is an AR-15 I purchased a few years back as a bare receiver and built up, and has never seen a day of military service in its short life.  Further, the AR-15 platform is used by basically no military, simply because those militaries can and do avail themselves of the significantly more capable M-16 and M4 platforms.

Now, the fun question: which of those firearms is subject to “assault weapon bans”?

If you have read the first two posts of this series, you probably already know the answer; the only firearm above subject to “assault weapon bans” is C.

The other two are actual military weapons that very likely were used by military personnel to kill other human beings, but it is the firearm that was never used by a military, from a model of firearm that was basically never used by the military, that people are so very concerned with.  If one wants to get truly specific, the combination of the National Firearms Act and the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act already make it functionally impossible for American citizens to procure most of even the types of firearms being used by militaries today, much less the actual, specific hardware.  But old military hardware?  90% of it, or more, is available for the purchasing, and some of it does not even require background checks, per the BATFE themselves.

So, no, “assault weapon bans” have absolutely nothing to do with the military heritage – or lack thereof, in almost all cases – of the firearms being banned.  Unfortunately, like so many of these talking points, that particular one is not likely to be dissuaded by facts.

(Mosin-Nagant images borrowed from 7.62x54r.net’s outstanding Mosin Identification page.)

the ineffectiveness of “assault weapon bans”, part 2

This time, I will go ahead and be forthright about the two firearms I want you to consider.

This is a Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM II that I purchased a number of years ago.  You will have to forgive the lacking quality of the photo – it turns out I sold it before I took any good pictures of it.

DSCF3248

And this is an AR-15 that I half-built, half-bought.  Again, you will have to forgive the truly derp-tastic stock that is on it presently – it did not last long, and it has a much better stock presently, I am just bad about taking pictures apparently.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now here is the important part:

Both firearms are semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles; i.e. both will shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger, and both can accept magazines up to 100 rounds (though I cannot imagine carrying the M1A at that point).  However, the M1A shoots a larger, heavier bullet that has, on average, double the muzzle energy of the bullet shot by the AR-15 and somewhere around double the maximum range.

So here is this post’s test: one of these firearms is currently banned by the California Assault Weapon Control Act, and one of them is not.  Which is banned?

If you answered “the more powerful rifle”, you would be wrong.

That M1A was, ironically, purchased in California – I even still have a picture of the receipt –  after I discovered that coming by AR-15s there would be… challenging.  At that point, I figured I might as well go with the more-powerful, more-capable rifle, simply to drive home the point that the state’s “assault weapon ban” was precisely useless.

As the previous post indicated, the entire notion of “assault weapon bans” is flawed to begin with since it literally prohibits one configuration of a rifle, but allows another configuration of the exact same rifle.  Once you realize that those bans allow firearms that work in almost the same way* but are significantly more powerful than their banned brethren?

Well, then it becomes painfully apparent that the purpose of the bans is not “safety”.

(* – Both firearms are gas-operated; the AR-15 uses direct impingement while the M1A uses a short-stroke piston system.  Both are still semi-automatic, but the two operating systems are just different ways of employing the gasses from the discharging round to cycle the actions.)

what is “high-powered”?

One of the favorite tactics of “gun control” organizations when demonizing AR-15s, AK-47-pattern rifles, and other “assault weapons”* is to decry them as being “high-powered” rifles unsuitable for civilian use.

As with so many things those organizations proclaim, that is simply not true.

The following graphic was built with numbers provided by the respective calibers’ Wikipedia pages, with the exception of 12 gauge, where the numbers came from Winchester Ammunition‘s line of 1 ounce slugs.  These numbers should be considered approximate averages, given the differences generated by barrel lengths, powder loading, bullet weight, and so forth, but the data will be sufficient for the point I am making.

MuzzleEnergyByCaliber

It is worth noting that the .223 / 5.56 were developed in 1963, the 7.62×39 in 1944, the .30-06 in 1906, the 7mm Remington Magnum in 1962, and the .300 Winchester Magnum in 1963.  It is difficult to truly date the 12 gauge caliber, but the concept of a shotgun has been around since at least 1728.

It is also worth noting that the AR-15, by dint of its modular nature, can support a wide variety of other calibers; however, even the most energetic (.50 Beowulf, I believe) still falls a few hundred foot-pounds short of the venerable .30-06.  Additionally, it is the niche product of a niche market; in other words, you are unlikely to see one, ever.

So, no, neither AR-15s nor AK-pattern rifles nor pretty much any other form of “assault weapons” could be considered “high-powered” rifles when compared against the rifles that millions of American hunters take into the forests every year, many of which are chambered in calibers developed decades before the AR/AK’s.

As usual, if the “gun control” organizations did not lie, they would have nothing to say.

(* – The arbitrary, capricious, and ultimately meaningless definition of “assault weapon” will be addressed in a later post.)