American's have been making guns at home for centuries
courtesy 3dprint.com

“Guns have been more or less controlled in the same ways since the rise of industrial production. As you clamp down on legal supply chains, you have to ask the question: Are there parallel illegal supply chains that are available substitutes?” – Mark A. Tallman in People Are Making Completely Untraceable Guns in Their Homes—Driving a New Kind of Crime [courtesy motherjones.com]

 

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70 COMMENTS

    • Just like in the Drug world, making meth used to require a skilled “Cook” with equipment and P2P, the “Nazi method” came along and everything needed was down at the Walmart and everyone is making crank back in their double wide.

    • Exactly. Prohibition gave us a perfect example of the “patterned evasion of social norms” which is is fancy way of saying that if you make something that people like illegal, they will find ways to ignore the law and keep doing what they like. Think 55mph speed limits and Escort radar detectors.

      • I always challenge prohibitionists to name a single example of an item that had significant demand and was successfully banned throughout the entirety of human history. Prohibition has never, ever, worked, and never will.

        • Well it did create a pretty lucrative smuggling industry where none existed. The 55mph speed limit created a milti-billion dollar radar-detector industry, even though it didn’t save gas, save lives, or even get people to drive more slowly.

  1. Just wait till the new ammo law takes effect in CA next year. Not only will there be a new black market for the trafficking of ammo but the potential for the illegal manufacture of ammunition. And why just stop at that when you can you can do the same but better and sell armor piercing pistol rounds to criminals as well?????

    • Ding ding ding!

      I made an AK47 receiver from a flat piece of sheet metal. In 15 hours I completed an AK47 out of that receiver and spare parts. It has over 10k rounds through it now.
      With the Ghost Gunner CNC, I can make a new AR15 receiver every 2 1/2 hours. And I have.
      With literally nothing but hand tools and scrap metal, I can make a 12g shotgun, and a quite nice one actually.
      With nothing but hand tools, scrap iron, a tree, and about 250 hours of time, I can make a flintlock rifle or smoothbore capable of killing anything in the western hemisphere at 100 yards, often more.

      And I’m a journeyman, at best. You can’t stop the signal.

        • I guarantee you that you have the ability to do all of the things I listed, and probably much more. When it comes to working with my hands I am practically functionally mentally retarded. But fortunately, I can follow instructions and I am willing to destroy things many times in order to get it right.
          I found the biggest detriment to people learning metal and woodworking is the unwillingness to destroy things they care about, including their time. You’ll never get ahead that way.

      • *looks at the tools on the work bench and in the shed outside. Considers skill level*
        Umm… I can make a laminated recurve bow or a longbow in 2-10 days depending on material availability… that’s all y’all get out of me. 🤠

      • It occurs to me that the antis, currently screeching about the availability of machines like the Ghost Gunner, will, if they accomplish banning them, will then be aghast that there are people out there who can buy, completely unregulated, servos, stepping motors and CNC controllers. Oh the humanity.

      • Good job, JW! Before my friends and I started building AKs or FALs, I built all the necessary bending jigs, barrel wrenches, riveting tools, and all that – cranking out an AK now is sort of a parlor trick (but building a really nice one still takes some care.)

        If the gun controllers want to halt manufacture of guns, they’ll need to shut down retailers like Grizzly and Harbor freight, too. With the JET mill and lathe in my garage, a skilled craftsman (not necessarily a beginner like me) could build a .50 cal from scratch.

        • I’m looking to upgrade my shop lathe. American-made tooling is ridiculously expensive. It’s difficult to justify when I have a chinese-made triphammer that’s 25 years old and going strong.

      • An amateur biologist or chemist is a lot more dangerous than an amateur machinist, any day. Something that will be affirmed if we have to go into Korea again.

      • JW Taylor sez “I found the biggest detriment to people learning metal and woodworking is the unwillingness to destroy things they care about, including their time. You’ll never get ahead that way.”

        There is so much truth to that, and not just about things you make. It’s like chasing a jackpot when you’re already down more than you can afford. Sticking with a business plan, or a battle plan, just because you worked so hard on it.

    • It’s worth keeping in mind that gun-controllers are far more interested in creating public symbols that represent their worldview than they are in actually controlling guns. If they didn’t have guns to complain about they’d have to find something else.

    • I have a friend who took up blacksmithing as a hobby. One of his efforts was seeing what he could make from the leaf springs off an old heavy truck on the ranch. After doing knives, machetes, and a crossbow, he made a Napoleonic era mortar.

      Then for fun he made his own powder with materials from the ranch.

      And since he got the powder right, he made exploding shells for the mortar.

      And this guy barely managed to get a GED.

  2. Over regulation will drive things underground. Aside from Prohibition booze, just look at cigarettes. There is a robust cigarette smuggling trade from N. Carolina/Virginia (where cigs are not over regulated) to places like New York (where they are). In Canada, the gov’t over-regulated cigs by taxing them so they were $40/carton. Down in the USA, same cigs sold for $20/carton. So the Mohawks (whose reserve is right on the Canada-US (New York) border) bought Canadian cigs in the US and smuggled them into Canada, where they sold them for $30/carton – a saving for the consumers up there and a profit for the Mohawks – and it made the Canadian government look silly because the Mohawks were better armed and equipped than the cops sent to stop them. So it will be with guns if the gun-grabbers get their way.

    • What’s more, if you, as a formerly law-abiding, but freedom loving individual, decide that you’re going to go ahead and build the forbidden fruit, why stop with an AR? If that would be a felony, might as well build it as an SBR, with an illegal can on it, too.

      Once the imposition of restrictive laws start to break down respect for our legal system, folks who would have formerly obeyed every nuance of the law will eventually say, “WTF” and just pick and choose.

    • Over-regulation doesn’t just drive things underground, it leads to people making them more potent. It’s simple economics: if I can double the potency of, say a homemade antibiotic, I can get twice the money for the same volume of product. And if it takes X amount of metal to make both a low-caliber low-power weapon and a higher caliber high-powered weapon, it’s in my interest to make the latter, so as to maximize my income per X amoount of metal.

      This principle was illustrated nicely with GPS: for precision, the military had special codes built into the signals, leaving civilians with barely useful data. It didn’t take even a year before smart physics people figured out how to get better precision than the military even without the codes.

      (And the military, implementing those, got even better results — indicating that if you want something to be made better, just don’t let people use the best you already have.)

  3. Little Marky and his intellectually deficient equals at Mother Jones have raised the alarm about a “new kind of crime”. This must be much worse than the old kind of crime. I fear they may have discovered “imaginary crime”. Perhaps they will save us, after they wipe the drool from their mouths, and come up with some “imaginary laws” to be enforced by “imaginary police” and “imaginary courts”.

  4. The toothpaste is out-of-the-tube; it’s not going back in. It’s time for us to finish the handwriting on the wall so that ATF, Congress and voters see where this is going.

    If you are going to prohibit a kind of contraband, you can concentrate on:

    1. – transactions in the contraband;
    2. – possession of the contraband; or,
    3. – both.

    The SJWs don’t want to concentrate on #2 because that puts more youthful minority males in prison. So, they want to concentrate on #1 because they think they can stop OFWGs from leaking guns from the legitimate market to the black market. Until about now, this has seemed to be a plausible approach since almost no guns were home-made.

    CNC machine tools and 3D printers are game-changers. Traffickers will be able to acquire frames (even with counterfeit maker’s marks and serial numbers) from small clandestine factories; much like moonshiners. Using traditional straw-buying techniques they can acquire an unlimited supply of new/used guns, “launder” their trace data, and put them onto the black market with an additional Cost-of-Goods-Sold of about $125 each.

    This scenario is in addition to stealing guns and smuggling. Therefore, even if the legitimate market for guns were strangled, guns would be stolen, smuggled or “moonshined”.

    There goes the faint hope of controlling the leakage of guns from the legitimate market to the black market. That leakage could be stopped (sort of, laundering aside) yet there would still be no shortage of black-market guns.

    If just 1% of 320 million citizens are felons-in-posesion they need only 3.2 million guns-per-year to keep them supplied with a new gun every year. That’s just 1/4 of the legitimate annual production.

    That puts governments back in the position of having to enforce felon-in-posession; enforcing transaction-oriented activity will become totally useless. (Arguably, it’s almost useless now.)

    It will take 5 – 10 – 15 years minimum for Congress and legislatures to force gun-transaction-control down our throats. During this time, CNC machining, 3D printing will substantially displace leakage from the legitimate market.

    Soon, we will see manufacturers selling popular models (G-19s or AR-15s) with NO frame/receiver. I.e., these will be totally UN-regulated sales – no different than pipe or sheetmetal. Every gun-club will have a CNC mill or 3D printer where members finish an 80% receiver (or create a 100% receiver from scratch).

    The number of licensed FFLs will drop and the number of guns produced reported to the ATF will drop; yet, those same dealers and manufacturers total gross sales of parts will continue rising. ATF will have fewer regulated entities to audit; fewer 4473 forms to check. The budget for ATF will get smaller each year. The number of gun traces will plummet.

    Does ATF really like this picture? Does Congress want this development?

    We don’t want it; but we may have to live with it. Gun-control will be back where we are today: i.e., enforcing felon-in-posession will be the only effective approach, but, that will put more young minority men in prison. They will be joined there by a few OFWGs who are no longer paying taxes. Just like during alcohol prohibition; just like pot-prohibition in States that have not yet legalized pot.

    Why tie-up Congress and legislatures for 5 – 10 – 15 years spending hundreds of millions – even billions – of dollars arguing about – and implementing – gun-transaction-control only to arrive at the place where we are now? I.e., hesitating to enforce felon-in-posession? What’s the logic to this approach?

    Or, maybe we ought to start thinking afresh. Why is it that guns-in-society is the only issue where we don’t ask about root causes? Why don’t we inquire after the root causes of suicide? The root causes of homicide? The root causes of accidents?

    For the sake of argument, imagine that our inquiry into root causes had NO MATERIAL IMPACT on gun deaths. Even so, wouldn’t we have a much better handle on mental illness? A much better handle on the social malaise of inner-city life? Understand the circumstances of accidents better? There is so much potential benefit to be achieved from the ancillary benefits of working with root causes that research and remediation programs are likely to pay for themselves – even if deaths-by-gunshot didn’t change!

    • I try to explain these issues of scale to people all the time and they just don’t seem to get it. The legitimate market for guns in this country is on the order of 15 million per year. The number of violent crimes committed with a gun is, if memory serves, on the order of 150,000 each year – two orders of magnitude removed from the number of guns. By how much would that number 15 million have to be reduced before it seriously impacts the supply of something with two orders of magnitude smaller demand, black market manufacturing not withstanding.

      Clearly, one unknown is, how many guns leave the legitimate market into the black market that are not used in crime. I dunno but, even if every gun used in a crime is used in only one crime and then confiscated or destroyed, and if only 10% of the guns in the black market are eventually used in crime, then there is still only a demand for 1.5 million black market guns each year. I would expect that this is a reasonable upper bound for basic analysis. Given that my guess is less than half of your 1% of the population guess, I can’t help but agree that virtually any government regulation at the transaction level is pointless.

      The truth is, there just are not enough transactions of the type the gun controllers would like to regulate for them to be visible in the sea of legitimate transactions. The only way to make the illegitimate transactions visible above the noise is to reduce the legitimate transactions to a level near to or lower than the illegitimate. In effect, even with my upper bound of 1.5 million black market demand, one would have to eliminate 80% or more of the domestic firearms market place to even be able to observe the black market in action. Further, this is just considering new production and ignoring the existing stockpile of guns that could supply a black market at these levels for literally centuries to come.

      • I think their ideology is:
        “If we get 15 million laws passed, surely we can find a way of punishing someone, somehow, for something we don’t like”

        • I think that is a lot of it. When we hear the rhetoric about the NRA as a terrorist group and gun owners as booger eating rednecks with small equipment it certainly leads one to think that many of the antis’ arguments can be summed up as, “I hate you and am in favor of any law that hurts you.”

          I have to say that I find that line of thinking weak justification for legislation.

  5. A whole lot of folks have figured out how to avoid the gubmint…I hear whining almost daily about Indiana flooding Chicago with guns,cigarettes and booze. Praytell which state is run better and other than Gary has a lower crime rate?!? And really good gun laws? Picking up my 4th Indiana bought gun in a year tomorrow…oh and I’m “mebbe” going to build an AR15.

  6. I can’t decide if the anti’s are really too stupid to understand how a firearm is manufactured or if the anti’s simply think so low of their fellow man that they’re surprised others have the wherewithal to manufacture a firearm?

    So many times I’d like somebody to ask a politician or prohibitionist the simple question: “Either you’re an imbecile or you believe I am an imbecile, which is it?” That sentiment seems to sum up just about every action these people take.

    • It is not at all uncommon for me to answer the question, “Where did you get that?” with the statement, “I made it.” It is comical how often people then look at me like I’m an incomprehensible wizard.

      At some point in time, someone figured out how to make every man made object anyone has ever seen. I’m not sure why this seems remarkable to people – It sometimes seems that people who’ve never built anything think there is some great pantheon of demigods somewhere creating bridges and dams and cars and dishwashers and bic lighters.

      • It’s another kind of projection: Assuming that you are just as incompetent and clueless as they are. That your whole world is buying useless s**t at TJMaxx, just like their world.

        It scares them to imagine someone incompetent and clueless like them being in possession of a firearm. It positively terrifies them to discover that perhaps you are not incompetent and clueless at all. Then they see us more like the velociraptors in ‘Jurassic Park’: incomprehensibly clever – to them, dangerously clever.

        • Few of them are self aware enough to understand the error in their assumptions. The whole situation just gives them the heebie-jeebies.

        • It weirds them out even more when they ask, “Where did you learn to do that?”, and you answer, “I figured it out on my own.”

          I’ve even had people challenge me on that notion. One, insisting that I couldn’t figure out a complex process without a tutor, said, “I’m sure you just looked it up on the internet or something.” I responded, “You do realize that someone has to know how to do something before they write the web page describing how to do it, don’t you? Ever consider that maybe I’m the type that writes the web page?”

      • I do conservation work. A couple of years ago, an engineer in the county public works department decided to help me out by giving me a copy of a paper some other engineer had written on how to control erosion in areas with heavy runoff. After reading it I gave it back and told her I’d figured all that out. She wanted to know what degree I had — so I told her I had a master’s in CS and T&E>

        I doubt she would have been as impressed if I explained those were “common sense” and “trial and error”.

        But I get that reaction a lot, people thinking how brilliant some of the things I do for erosion control are, when they’re mostly things I picked up from my grandfather or figured out by trying things.

  7. The libs all pushing for these laws don’t care about stopping violent criminals (who already violate countless laws on the books). They being criminals themselves (as in countless times push for or accomplish violations of the U.S. Constitution), just want to make everyone else criminals too.

    Bring everyone else down to their level, so to speak.

  8. The average liberal lives in the city is educated in a public school and goes to university
    His job in marketing, art, or sales also actually produces nothing
    In all of these places you actually manufacture or produce nothing
    So the idea that someone could actually manufacture something by themselves is amazing to a liberal

  9. This fixation on “traceable” guns is a false narrative that exploits the general public’s ignorance of gun facts.

    You cannot match a projectile to a barrel.
    Microstamping is an imperfect method of tying a casing to a firearm.
    I don’t think that many guns are left behind at the scene of a shooting.
    I am not sure what incremental advantage can be gained, forensically speaking, in tracing a gun’s ownership history AFTER it has been used in a crime. The horse is out of the barn at that point and (to continue the analogy) you don’t know what barn it came from.

    Serial numbers and other unique identifying markings serve one purpose in forensics: clearly identifying evidence for cataloging.

    Serial numbers and other unique identifying markings, then, serve only one pre-crime purpose: they facilitate registration of the firearm. I don’t have to list the potential consequences found down this path.
    But the antis won’t admit any of this. They want gun registration and that is why they exploit a more palatable notion of “tracing” crime guns.

  10. I love dark beer, when we move to the country I’m going to make home brew and bottle for personal consumption. My dad brewed a really yummy beer.
    Will need get with my younger brother to see if he has daddy’s recipe. Home brew is so much better tasting than large batch commercial beer.

  11. After they make things illegal, so the skillful will do for themselves, they’ll have to continue their crackdown on skills and the skillful.

    It’s like that’s not a bug, but a feature.

      • A liberal friend was talking about banning guns. We had an afternoon to kill, so I took him to the hardware store where I bought hose clamps and 2 different diameters of pipe. While we drank beer and talked about 17th Century choral music, I trimmed down a 2×6 into a stock and clamped the pipes to it. Made a shotgun in less than an hour.

  12. Whenever they make something illegal, they make new criminals; people they can do things to, because they are criminals. Violence is already criminal. So, the point of making non-violent people who happen to have guns criminals is … ?

    It’s like making more criminals is the plan; not a bug, but a feature.

  13. If you want to ban guns you have to ban tools. If you want to ban tools you have to ban raw materials, and books.

    Anybody who says he “supports the Second Amendment, but…” has let that abnegatory but start him on a path that ends in a pile of blazing books.

    Or blazing people.

    Take our guns, we still have our tools. We will make new guns and take them back.

    Take our tools, we still have our books. We will make new tools.

    Take our books, we still have the knowledge in our minds. How do you propose to take that?

    Quote from Hognose. Weaponsman RIP……

    • I miss Hognose. I’m sure he’d have some interesting things to say on the state of things today.

      This “But there’s people making illegal gunz!” hysteria is something I’ve dealt with more and more in the last few years. I try to be patient with some of these people, but they try my patience so very, very hard.

      The best explanation I give them is how the old-school Brit gunmakers of “best guns” used to make guns with mostly hand tools – and then charge $25K and up for the result. They look at me like I’m a liar and fraud, then I show them pics of Churchill, Purdey, Greener, H&H, Boss, etc. They think that it isn’t possible to make such things by hand. Then they resort to calling me a liar again.

      At this point, I decided years ago to go on the unremitting attack. I ask them what their background it. It is invariably some liberal arts/humanities degree – ie, they’ve wasted their adult lives, pissing about, re-arranging words on a screen or a piece of paper. They know nothing about the real world, and probably are the sort who would use a chisel and a screwdriver interchangeably. I inform them that just because they’re ignorant, doesn’t mean that other people are ignorant. They can pass all the emissions regs they want, but there’s some of us who can rebuild and re-engine a vehicle with whatever we want in it – and we do. There’s some of us who can make parts of metal out of nothing but scrap in the recycler’s yard, others who can build electronic items, etc, etc. I come back to one central issue:

      “It isn’t the fault of the handy that you are so ignorant. That’s your fault, and your fault alone. You had a choice in life, whether to be ignorant and useless, or informed and useful. You chose poorly. That’s on you, and on you alone.”

      As I grow older, I’m increasingly intolerant of stupidity, and some of the people who get their silk panties in a wad over gun control are a very special, entitled brand of stupid.

  14. The issue isn’t so much making firearms as it is the ammunition. That is what the really smart antis seek to ban, because a person can make as many guns as they want, but if they don’t have the ammunition to fire out of them, they can’t use them, and ammunition manufacture, especially quality ammunition manufacture, is much more difficult.

  15. This was demonstrated handily to me in our last (and still running) war(s).

    We knew they were using ammonium nitrate so we banned it. So they started getting it from fertilizer prills so we forced them to buy fertilizer that had calcified ammonium nitrate. They then started finely crushing the CAN fertilizer prills to the point where the calcium shell only marginally lowered the explosive yield, at best. So then we banned that and made them use Urea based fertilizers. Then they started to smuggle and or produce nitric acid to make Urea Nitrate, so we banned Urea fertilizers. Well, there’s an alternate method to acquire urea and there’s nobody going to stop that.

    Prohibition. Always. Fails

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