why #stopdownloadableguns has already failed

Ok, on this, the day of one of my favorite things ever – the democratization of technology – let us have a serious, sober-ish conversation about this whole #StopDownloadableGuns / #Stop3DPrintedGuns hysteria by starting at the beginning and working forward.

  • Is it legal to make your own firearms?

Absolutely (at the federal level). To put it the proper way, it has never been illegal to produce firearms for your own use. Do not sell it and do not make an illegal firearm (e.g. an SBR without an appropriate tax stamp), but otherwise? Knock yourself out.

And designs to build your own firearms at home have existed… basically since firearms have existed.  Some of those designs are painfully-simple-yet-frighteningly-effective:

Djic5PIWwAAM4nJ

Others require a bit more knowledge and tools.  And still others are literally commercially available.

All of those concepts take something that is not legally considered a firearm and turn it into something that is legally considered a firearm, at home, without registration or knowledge of anyone else.  None of those firearms have to be serialized.  None of those firearms are “traceable”.  And, again, all of those designs have been available for literal decades.  And making them is completely legal.

  • It is legal to 3D print your own firearms now?

Yup. It is entirely legal to print a firearm with a plan you have on your local machine, right now, even before the whole “end of the world” thing today.

  • So what’s the #StopDownloadableGuns fuss about?

Few years back, the State Department told an organization called Defense Distributed that if they continued to distribute firearms plans on the internet, they would be in violation of something called the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. ITAR is a pretty complicated topic in its own right, but it basically boiled down to DefDist – and its subsidiary project DefCad – being shut down. The thing is, the State Department edict exclusively applied to the distribution of the files, not the use of the files. Have them already? Knock yourself out. Share them online? Bad juju.

As of today, DefCad has been granted federal permission* to share the files as they see fit, and the predictable “gun control” organizations and extremists (but I repeat myself) are absolutely losing their minds.

But here is the thing: the files are already out there. In lots of places. And they have been added to over the past few years. As the saying goes, “the internet views censorship as damage and routes around it.” Or, “you can’t stop the signal”.

cant-stop-the-signal-1

So all this #StopDownloadableGuns / #Stop3DPrintedGuns nonsense about “letting horses out of the stable”? Yeah, they have been out for six long years, they have been multiplying like rabbits, and y’all done well and truly lost. Anywise. (And, again, this is even ignoring the firearm plans that only use parts from your local home improvement store and have been available for longer than most “gun control” extremists have been alive.)

  • Can you entirely 3D print a firearm?

Not technically, and not legally. The technical problem is that firing pins are almost invariably made of metal for a reason – you have to set off that primer to, in turn, set off the powder. And plastic just does not have the strength to do that.

The legal problem is something no-joke called the Undetectable Firearms Act. This law is literally 30 years old, and requires at least 105g of steel in any firearm ever produced, anywhere – even at home. This applies to 3D printed firearms.

Remember that scene in Die Hard 2 about the mythical Glock 7 that was made entirely out of porcelain or something? Yeah, the Undetectable Firearms Act is older than that, rendering this whole #StopDownloadableGuns / #Stop3DPrintedGuns hysteria ludicrous.

  • Can you mostly 3D print a firearm?

Short of the firing pin and enough other steel to be legal, sure. And it is good for… about a maximum of ten rounds, from what I have seen so far, and marginally accurate at five yards, if that. They are proofs of concepts, nothing more.

  • So what can you do?

Well, for example, AR-15 lowers do not have a significant amount of force or temperature applied to them at any given time. Given appropriate modifications, you could totally print a lower that is good for 500+ rounds, depending on materials.

bolty lower

And people have been, again, for literally years. The 3D-printed AR lower is kind of the holy grail of 3D printed firearm hobbyists, and the last iteration I saw was… solid. Drop a lower parts kit in it, an upper on it, and a stock, and it works, for a time.

  • So what’s the point of 3D printing firearms?

Remember “democratization of technology”. The USSR abjectly feared mimeographs and other copy machines simply because they knew they could not control the flow of information – and propaganda was, and still is, essential for socialism to “work”.

  • So, hold on, is this a Second Amendment issue or a First Amendment issue?

The end product is definitely protected by the Second Amendment, but the specific situation of whether or not the federal government – or any government – can control the distribution of information is totally a First Amendment issue.  The #Stop3DPrintedGuns folks are literally calling on the government to control what information you can and cannot read.  This is no different than if the “gun control” extremists were trying to convince the government to burn all of a specific technical journal.

Yes, #StopDownloadableGuns is morally and logically equivalent to book burning.  It is censorship, pure and simple, but even a step beyond simple censorship because they are actively trying to destroy the information.

liberator5

And the control of information never works, even if the government is involved.  The case of United States v. Progressive Inc. is probably the closest parallel to the current situation, and it pertained to publishing plans to a no-joke nuclear weapon.  And, guess what?  The government gave up the case.  The hilarious story of the RSA “munitions” t-shirt is another example where the FedGov lost.

3D printers are the modern day Gutenberg movable type press, but instead of democratizing knowledge, they democratize power. 3D printing firearms, while still in its infancy today, puts the means for people to defend themselves squarely in the hands of the people – where it always should have belonged in the first place.  How? The ability to download a file and push a button to produce a “functional” – for various definitions of the word – firearm removes licensing and registration and confiscation and all other forms of “gun control” from the table. This is why #StopDownloadableGuns / #Stop3DPrintedGuns ninnies fear it so.

And that is the ultimate irony.

These folks style themselves as the “Resistance” against the current administration, but not only are they wanting to give President Trump more power than he Constitutionally should have, but they want to deny We, The People another means of defending ourselves.

These are frequently – if not invariably – the same people who decry our current President as “literally Hitler”, and they want to remove a rather significant means for the public to defend themselves from being thrown in cattle cars and extermination camps. How ludicrous is that?

(* – Well, the State Department granted them permission, but US District Judge Robert Lasnik, who appears to be more interested in signaling his virtue than obeying the Constitution, granted a temporary restraining order against DefCad.  Not even Judge Lasnik can stop the signal, though, as Code is Free Speech is adequately demonstrating.)

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are gun sales down under president trump yet?

About a year ago, I took a look at the notion that firearm sales had gone down during President Trump’s term.  The reality?  Gun sales had, in fact, not gone down, and the average NICS checks per month during his time in office had already overrun President Obama’s numbers by about a third.

Well, here we are about a year later, with a year’s more data; are firearm sales down yet?

Still nope.

AverageMonthlyNICSCheckbyPresident

As before, the information I am examining is the NICS Firearm Background Checks table published by the FBI every month, and, also as before, there is a very important caveat here:

NICS checks are not a track of the total firearm sales in America, for two very significant reasons.

  1. Any number of firearms could be transferred on a single NICS checks.  It could be 1.  It could be 10.
  2. Some states, such as North Carolina, use their carry permit system as a replacement for the NICS background check.  You still have to fill out an ATF Form 4473, but no NICS is run on you.

At best, NICS checks can be considered a “floor” for the data, as in “no fewer than this many new firearms entered circulation in America on these months/years”.

But, still, as I said last year, NICS checks are regarded as the primary metric by both the pro-rights organization and the “gun control” extremists, so it is still a good – if incomplete – measure of overall trends.

And trends are still high:

Screenshot 2018-07-14 at 17.24.43

In fact, those trends are sufficiently high that the drop from the peak month of one year (typically December) to the low month of the following year (typically June or July) has been consistently below average for our current President:

PeakBottomComparison

Now, in fairness, that metric could indicate that NICS checks are constantly trending upwards, on average, or it could indicate that firearm sales are simply leveling off.  So, now that we have another year of data from President Trump’s time in office, let us consider the options.

How about if we look at sales in the equivalent months of each President’s term?  In other words, let us compare the first month of Trump’s term against the first month of Obama’s term, and the first month of Obama’s term against the first month of Bush’s term, and so forth.  Which month had higher NICS checks?

Weeeelllll…

I would put a pretty graphic here, but the honest truth is that there is a grand total of one month – December of 2007 – where the NICS checks were lower than its corresponding month for a previous President (in this case, December of 1999).

In other words, since December of 2006, NICS checks have been higher in a given sequential month of the current President’s term when compared to the equivalent sequential month of the previous President’s term 99.28% of the time.

Alright, TL;DR time:  no, gun sales are not down under President Trump.  Their meteoric increase during the last President’s term appears to have slowed, but that may be nothing more than the establishment of a new normal.

Also, since December of 1998, there have been a total of 291,724,502 NICS checks.  Again, this is not an accounting of firearms sold but it is indicative of one thing:  

There are a lot of firearms in peaceful Americans’ hands, and they are not going anywhere.

(I will upload the source spreadsheet for this as soon as WordPress gets over itself and lets me.  Suffice to say, all I did was take the FBI numbers and put them into a couple of charts.)

arizona concealed weapon permit holders are more law-abiding than average

This week, we will take a look at the state that actually declared the Colt Single Action Army to be their state firearm – Arizona:

ArizonaCWP

Since first starting their Concealed Weapon Permit program on 08SEP94, Arizona has issued 330,776 permits that are still active, while only 4,189 have been suspended and 1,209 have been revoked.

In other words, over the course of the past almost-24 years, Arizona’s CWP has only had a “failure rate” of 0.366%.

To put things in perspective, in 2016 Arizona had a total felonious crime rate of approximately 3,819.5 per 1000,000 residents.

Given that Arizona’s felonious crime rate peaked at about 5,174.9 per 100,000 in 1991, it is quite acceptable to state that the average Concealed Weapons Permit holder is at least 10 times less likely to break a serious law than non-permit-holders.

I keep trying to find new ways to re-word these posts – beyond the obvious state and statistics changes – because Google hates repetitive content.  But I honestly can find only so many ways to say, “The average concealed carry permit holder is significantly more law-abiding than average non-permit-holders.”  And this only makes sense – concealed carry permit holders are background-checked when they get their permits – indicating a lack of criminal history – and know that any minor slip-up will cost them their permits.  But people still treat these statistically-more-responsible as social outcasts, even “safety risks”.

I suppose this just goes to show that “gun control” is not based on facts, but rather hysteria.

i only love that which they defend

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote today’s quote in a work of fiction, pertaining to characters in a world that never existed outside the pages of his books.

Still, I believe they are a sentiment that echos with firearm owners today.  For a large number – possibly verging on “vast majority” – of us, it is not about the firearms.  Oh, sure, they are fun to learn about, and even more fun to use, but in the end, it all boils down to the defense of family, the defense of hearth, and the defense of home.

Sharpness

And, really, you have to wonder why people would want to limit your ability to defend your family, if not outright strip you of it.

 

giffords law center 2018 scorecard

No, sadly, I will not be embarking upon the venture of dismantling how the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Ownership abused statistics in order to make their “Scorecard” say what they want it to.

Why?

Well, to begin with, they do not publish their vaunted “comprehensive grading rubric”, so there is no way to examine the source data.  And if you cannot see the source data, the “scorecard” is meaningless.

Worse, they openly admit to cooking the books.  For example, in reference to Alaska, their scorecard says:

GiffordsLies

Alaska did not pass any significant gun laws in 2017. Despite its remote location, Alaska exports crime guns to other states at nearly twice the national average and has the highest gun death rate in the nation.

First off, claiming that Alaska has “no law” concerning “Concealed Carry Permitting” is simply a bald-faced lie, as Alaska Statutes Section 18.65.700 clearly indicates.  Yes, Alaska is a Constitutional Carry state, but they will still issue you a license if you want one, meaning they do not have “no laws” about permits.

In the same vein, claiming Alaska has “no law” pertaining to “Background Checks” is a half-truth, at best.  No, the state may not have any such laws, but there are a number of federal laws that govern the sale of firearms, even in private transactions – but the liars at the Giffords Law Center want you to forget that.

Continuing with the text beneath the graphic, doing what the “gun control” extremists want you to do is rewarded, above and beyond simply having the laws in place.  Interestingly, this rather plainly exposes the incrementalist nature of the “gun control” movement – states will only keep getting a positive score for “passed significant gun laws” if they… well, keep passing significant gun laws.  In other words, “gun control” extremists are not going to be happy until all the books are burned.

Further, states are being penalized for crimes that were committed in other states, meaning that things like firearm-related murders are being counted twice (if the firearm used came from another state).

Finally and most damning, they freely admit to creating the same positive-feedback-loop that was so notable in the 2015 Brady Campaign “Scorecard”, by way of penalizing states for having high “gun death” rates.  They are literally attempting to correlate “gun deaths” against a score that includes “gun deaths” as one of its metrics – no wonder there is a positive correlation.  (And this is all without even getting into the intentionally-misleading notion of including suicides in the total “gun deaths” count.)

So I guess I should give their lawyers some credit – they finally realized that publishing their data only enables people like me to tear it apart.  But that just means they are compounding obfuscation on top of falsehoods and abuses of mathematics.

In other words, this is nothing more than “business as usual” for “gun control” extremists.

neva’ bin dun befo’

“Gun control” extremists like to make a lot of noise about how the Founding Fathers never could have “conceived” of firearms capable of the rates of fire achievable by modern examples, so the Second Amendment does not apply to them.

Never mind that the same argument could be made concerning the First Amendment and the internet; instead, allow us to focus on the original argument itself.

It is simply false:

KalthoffRepeater

Make no mistake, the Kalthoff Repeater was a weapon far before its time, but it still existed before even the Founding Fathers themselves, much less the Second Amendment.

A similar firearm design, dating back to 1690, and probably having been made in the American Colonies before the Revolutionary War, was the Cookson Repeater which was based on the Lorenzoni System.  The latter was developed in the early 1600’s.

For Heaven’s sake, Joseph Belton offered his repeating flintlock design – employing superposed loads, much akin to the modern MetalStorm system – to the newly-formed Continental Congress themselves in 1777, meaning that, yes, the Founding Fathers were very much aware of rapid-fire firearms.

If we expand the concept from “single-barrel and man-portable” to any possible firearm-like device, there are always the Ribauldequin in all its various forms (dating to 1339) and the Puckle Gun (1718).

So either the “gun control” extremists in question are calling the Founding Fathers woefully ignorant men who were completely unaware of technological advances that preceded them by centuries, or the “gun control” extremists themselves have no idea what they are talking about.

… Yeah.  There really is no doubt, is there?

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.

52

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”