For decades, gun control proponents have argued that restrictions on who could own what type of guns were absolutely essential. After all, without those controls in place, you would have all kinds of trouble.
Unfortunately, we live in a different world than we did in 1990s, the last era when meaningful gun control was passed at the federal level.
Today, we hear lots of doom and gloom about so-called “ghost guns,” how they’re this massive and growing threat.
What the media fails to account for, though, is that these guns also signal the end of gun control’s hope of actually accomplishing anything.
In fairness, you can only blame the media so much. They’re not experts on the subject. They only know what their sources tell them, and most of those sources are either hyper-partisan or tied to a law enforcement agency more upset by their lack of control than anything else.
So what’s the real deal?
First, understand that terms like “ghost gun” aren’t technical in any way. They have an overly broad definition that includes things like firearms with the serial number rendered unreadable–an illegal act that’s been so for decades at this point.
However, it also includes any gun someone makes at home.
Much of the media’s attention has been focused on incomplete receivers one can buy online, have shipped to your home, then complete with some pretty basic tools you probably already have.
For many gun control activists, this is an activity that needs to be stopped. Unfortunately for them, that ship has sailed.
We live in an era when you can also build a gun at home with a 3D printer. That’s right, it’s possible to skip the gun store, the background checks, and a host of other gun-control roadblocks with something you bought from Amazon.
Most who print guns generally only make the receiver–which is what the ATF considered the gun anyway–but it’s not limited to that.
Numerous designs exist already for firearms made almost exclusively with 3D printed parts. The parts that are the exception? A bit of metal so the designs conform with current federal law regarding undetectable firearms.
Yet that bit of metal isn’t exactly controlled.
Many gun control advocates remain focused on gun kits, even going so far as to serialize and control many other components.
Yet technology for skirting these regulations already exists, and I suspect I know just the company that will find a way around it.
Cody Wilson is kind of the daddy of 3D-printed guns, but he recognized that a lot of people don’t like plastic firearms. So, he came up with Ghost Gunner.
Ghost Gunner is both the company and the product, a desktop CNC machine that will mill out a receiver in one of several firearm patterns, including the AR- and AK-pattern receivers.
Does anyone think he won’t work so that such a machine could build trigger groups or any number of other parts?
The Ghost Gunner’s CNC machine isn’t exactly new technology. CNC controls have been around since the 1950s. CNC wood routers have been in American workshops for ages now. All Wilson did was apply it to firearms, something few companies were willing to do.
Yet taking on CNC lathes would enable Ghost Gunner or a competitor to build a tool that would produce barrels–one of the components most likely to be controlled–without having to ask Uncle Sam for permission.
This isn’t calling for a quantum leap in technology, just a new and cheaper application for something that exists and has since before most of us were born.
And if it’s not Ghost Gunner, it will be someone else.
The truth of the matter is that technology exists already to put a firearm in the hand of every man, woman, and child on the planet if it were so desired and to do so without a government having to grant its blessing.
As such, maybe it’s time to start looking at solutions for violent crime that don’t involve curtailing people’s rights. A prime example is the government getting out of the way of small businesses in our larger cities, thus creating jobs and economic opportunities that might help move some away from a criminal lifestyle.
Or they can pretend technology doesn’t advance and that the same laws meant to keep freed slaves disarmed are still relevant today. Their call, really.