Hysteria Over 3D Printed Guns Accepts Misconceptions Instead of Reality

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In the wake of Defense Distributed winning the right to freely publish its blueprint for its “Liberator” 3D-printed gun, the gun control outrage machine went into overdrive:

The most egregious bit of hyperbole was courtesy of Sen. Chuck Schumer, who displayed his ignorance on “ghost guns” in just two sentences:

“I am sounding an alarm that come Aug. 1, America is going to get a lot less safe when it comes to the gut-wrenching epidemic of gun violence,” Schumer said. “Ghost guns are not only scary, they’re outright dangerous in the way they can mimic the look and the capacity of a hardened, fully semiautomatic weapon.”

In spite of the fact that Liberator plans have been available for years (and are still available in many places on the internet), Schumer thinks an arbitrary legal date will all of a sudden mean Chicago gangs will take to the streets armed with “ghost gun” Liberators that are as fully functional as regular firearms.  The truth is, Schumer blatantly ignores the truth not only on the Liberator, but what a “ghost gun” actually is.  

While Wikipedia’s “A ghost gun is a gun with no serial number” definition is enough to make Schumer look stupid, for the sake of argument, we will go with a more robust definition from Quora

It is a firearm manufactured for personal use in compliance with 18 USC 922(r), Federal, State and local laws.  Such firearms are made for personal use and are more-or-less untraceable as they are not required to be registered or serialized.

Hence the made-up term “Ghost Gun”, a gun that is ephemeral, that doesn’t exist in any form that can be traced or observed unless its owner chooses to reveal its existence.

…which is especially relevant when the legality of a “ghost gun” is considered:

The key to such guns is ALL laws must be followed.  They cannot be manufactured for commercial sale as this requires an FFL07.  They must not violate the National Firearms Act of 1934 in general.  If the firearm is assembled using foreign made parts, it must comply with 18 USC 922(r) in order to be considered a “US Made” firearm.

So a prohibited person cannot legally own any firearm, “ghost” or otherwise…

An AR-15 lower receiver being “finished” (Youtube – Paradox Technology)

…but more importantly, the term has traditionally been applied to “unfinished” lower receivers and firearms into fully functioning ones, as the LA Times described in its fearmongering on the dangers of “untraceable” ghost guns:

“Criminals are making their own weapons because they cannot buy them legally … or they are paying other people to make those guns for them to get around the gun laws,” said Bill McMullan, special agent in charge of ATF’s L.A. Field Division. “This is a trend among Southern California gangs.”

An unfinished lower receiver, sometimes referred to as an “80% receiver,” can legally be purchased without a serial number from a seller who is not a federally licensed firearms dealer as long as it is missing the key components that would make it a firearm.

The lower receiver then can be completed easily by drilling a few remaining holes into the unfinished metal shell. It is then ready for a barrel, trigger mechanism, stock and upper receiver to be attached.

Aside from the LA Times (falsely) believing that milling a fire control cavity and the other gunsmithing work required to finish a lower receiver can be “easily” done, the newspaper made sure to omit the recent California law which makes such activity illegal unless the finished receiver is registered:

In July 2016, California passed AB 857 which requires all completed firearms to have a serial number applied by Jan 1, 2019. An 80% lower is not a firearm, so a serial number would only be required once the 80% lower is completed. Unfinished 80% lower receivers do not need a serial number.

If you build an 80% lower into a 100% lower after July 1, 2018, you must FIRST apply to the California DOJ for a serial number, pay a fee, and they will then assign a serial number that you must apply to your firearm. If you built your firearm prior to July 2018 and already engraved a serial number of your choosing that is compliant with ATF regulations, the text of the law seems to indicate that this should be in compliance. However, we have heard that CA DOJ has made statements suggesting that people must engrave a new DOJ issued serial number on their lower even though the lower receiver already has a ATF compliant serial number engraved on it.

To quickly summarize the above, every activity pertaining to building, completing, or possessing “ghost guns” by prohibited persons is already illegal under federal law, and heavily regulated under many state laws.  

So, why is all of the “ghost gun” talk pertinent to 3D-printed guns?  That question is even more relevant when you take a closer look at the Liberator itself:

The Defense Distributed gun can be best described as a .380 caliber, single-shot, plastic piece of shit.  And before you say “cheap”, take a close look at what The Atlantic, a super-liberal mainstream media outlet, stated about the Liberator:

But 3D printing, still being a young technology, is slow. The two firms I spoke with each suggested that printing the various small parts would take hours — eight hours in one’s estimation.

Nor would it necessarily be cheap. The firm that ultimately offered to do the printing suggested that, given the number of objects and the fact that it was important to ensure that they were well-milled and that I wanted it quickly, the final price would be a bit above my budget: $1,500.

I wish the best of luck to anyone that attempts to build a Liberator for under $4,000 and safely fire it 10+ times.  But, even if it can be done for less than that, why would a criminal waste the money on the very limited Liberator, when the parts for a “ghost” AR-15 can be ordered online and “completed easily”, as the LA Times puts it?

The liberal hysteria surrounding “ghost guns” is nothing more than the latest round of liberal virtue signaling and inability to cope with the fact that President Trump is indeed… President.  In spite of the fact that all activity regarding home finishing of firearms is already widely-available yet illegal and off-limits to prohibited persons…

…this will not stop the big-money gun control machine from using the Liberator as its latest tool to make legal gun ownership as arduous, time consuming, and expensive as possible.