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“Our culture has become obsessed of late with the virtues of the locally sourced: local vegetables, local meats, local soaps. We’ve heard much about the moral worth of do-it-yourselfism and the soul-enhancing virtues of shop class. But there’s a darker side to locophilia and the DIY movement, a place where the self-reliance of the woodshop putterer meets the libertarian zeal of the garage gunsmith. If the growing black market in homemade firearms evokes a bygone era of small-scale experiment and chance invention, it presages a frightening future of proliferation and lethality that medieval gunsmiths could hardly have imagined.” – Bruce Holsinger in The Medieval roots of our DIY gun culture [at]

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    • A black market for homemade guns? Really? What has he been smoking?

      When was the last time a crime was committed with a homemade gun? Must not happen very often since neither FBI nor DOJ statistics even track it.

      • I spent about 1 hour searching the internet. In the USA, I could not find one (I may be lacking google-fu skills) but I did find instances in the UK, Australia, the Philippines and South Africa. Basically, any place there is a heavy ban. I assume in the USA it is easier to steal or purchase from your friendly neighborhood gang-banger than it is to make one. I always thought that the Mexican drug cartels would be stamping out their own guns, but they too can simply steal or buy them.

      • Besides, no offense to any amateur gunsmiths here, but with a very few exceptions, I don’t want a “homemade” gun. Especially if I’m trusting my life to it. I want something produced by someone who can afford extensive, destructive if necessary, testing, and who will stand behind it in the case of failure.

        • Why commit a crime with an amateur homemade gun when you can buy a superior gun made by a professional company for a few hundred bucks at gunstores across the country, or on the local street corner in any anti-gun city with no Form 4473 required?

          I have nothing good to say about Bruce Holsinger. I did not read his article, because the quoted passage is filled with evidence of his nincompoopery. Our culture has been “obsessed” with self-reliance “of late”? “We’ve heard much” about the can-do spirit, buying local products, and working with tools? Screw this guy! He writes like he’s never bought goods not made in China or food not imported from South America and calls in “a man” to change his lightbulbs.

          And of course, gunsmithing is a not “a darker side” to craftsmanship. If anything, in this cultural climate it’s a lighter side!

        • Does this “author” really make the claim that the guy in the picture 3-D printed an entire FN SCAR?

      • Santa Monica shooting in 2013 involved an AR built from 80% lower, but that is really stretching it as far as “home made” is concerned.

        • No joke. Assembling an 80% lower is as ‘homemade’ as ‘homemade’ cookies, out of a tub of cookie dough….

        • Yep. And the liberal progressive media could easily consider that to be “homemade.”

        • Given the sad state of the average American’s DIY skills and ability to create anything other than Facebook posts (especially liberal urban puds like this Holsinger idiot), building an 80% lower, for most people, might as well be creating a fully functioning Mars rover, including launch vehicle.

          I once actually heard a guy at Home Depot asking the dude at the paint desk how to use a paint roller.

    • But, but…………the sky is falling………..or…… gonna fall.

      Just wait……….you’ll see….

  1. Or, “How dare you not be dependent on the government, you’re a (fill in the blank) extremist.

    • Right? I built a new deck for the house the other day. Bet this guy would sh** a brick knowing I didn’t have any “professional” assistance, inspection, permits, or a government overseer.

      • *gasp*

        I just messed my pants at the thought! Oh, the horror…the horror… That unregistered deck. Suppose you used high strength assault screws and a fully automatic cordless drill, too?

        I sure hope a neighbor saw something and said something. People like you need to be stopped! Stopped, I say!

        Now to go change my poo-filled drawers…

        • Just wait until I start dealing unregistered, untraceable, “ghost” decks around the neighborhood! It’ll be pure anarchy!

    • Yep, another ditto.

      Smug Statist Elitist a-holes. I’m sick of them. “Shop class” and “locophilia” and other labeling to create “the other” completes the picture of arrogance.

    • It’s particularly amusing, his not-so-veiled implication that anyone libertarian must be a complete looney zealot. Which he then destroys by his very own words, which isn’t exactly subtle in revealing his crazed “true believer” state. Irony, no?

  2. There’s nothing quite like the smell of fear from metro-sexual statists in the morning.

    • Yes.
      “it presages a frightening future”…
      I see it as a really neat present.

      • I see it as a future AR-10 lower with a Palmetto State Armory 18″ stainless upper.

    • He has too sloppy of a haircut to be metro…

      He is likely just effeminate.

      • Hey, who knows how long he worked on that ‘do to give it that “rugged” look… 😉

  3. RUN chicken little, RUN! The garage gunsmiths are coming for you!!!!!

    Sad what passes for earning a living.

    • Seriously. How much does this guy get paid for this? I can make sweeping claims about things that have literally not hurt a soul in the last 15 years without evidence and scare a bunch of soccer moms. I could easily get into this. “WATCH OUT! GMO, gluten packed, non organic, super mega assault potatoes on your shelves today! Its the end of DAYS!”

  4. Slate provides endless entertainment. Gotta give them that.

    I wonder sometimes if the authors are serious, or if slate is just a satire site.

    • There is a Facebook page called “The liberal agenda” It’s so bat crap stupid I asked if it was satire, it didn’t go well.

      • Tumblr is even worse, if you can believe it. They don’t even realize they have achieved Poe’s Law.

  5. They’re afraid of people that don’t live within the government’s ecosystem. You can’t collect data or enforce regulations on people that do things for themselves. There aren’t any statistics to back up their fears, but then, there aren’t statistics to back up increased gun control either. Facts do not matter…

  6. Does he know that it’s perfectly legal to build your own guns? Dumb question, of course he doesn’t.

    • Not if you intend to sell them, whether it is on the “black market” or not. A small number are allowed annually, but the weapons must be serialized prior to sale. Anything more and you need a license to manufacture.

    • “Does he know that it’s perfectly legal to build your own guns?”

      Yes, he does.

      He wants it to be *illegal* for you to build your own gun.

      If you want to have some serious fun with that mindset, just ask them if it should be illegal to sell any part of a gun.

      Watch their eyes light up with joy…

      And then show them a screw.


  7. “……it presages a frightening future of proliferation and lethality that medieval gunsmiths could hardly have imagined.”

    No it doesn’t.

  8. it presages a frightening future of proliferation and lethality that medieval gunsmiths could hardly have imagined.” Actually what guns that did exist in the late middle ages totally sucked; so a Pennsylvania flintlock Long Rifle would have fit into the scenario of medieval unimaginable guns.

  9. If you learn to do for yourself then you might not need the gov to do for you. That’s the scariest thing in the world to them.

    I see it all the time among political class democrats who cringe whenever one of their reliably democrat constituents questions regulations that prevent them from keeping a chicken at home or growing veggies in the front yard where the sun is or sending the cops to drag their kid out of school because the kefir in their lunch box contains .00000001% alcohol.

    The rift in the republicans the media likes to go on about between the statists and the libertarians is just as present among the democrats. They’re just trying to keep it on the down low. If word gets out that people historically aligned with both R’s and D’s want to be free a third party might get traction. Can’t have that now.

  10. Or you could just buy a gun… There are literally hundreds of millions in existence.

    Anyone making a gun in their garage is doing so for the same reason people make their own beer, because they want to, not because they have to.

  11. I don’t think this moron knows what the term “black market” means.

    Yes, there’s a growing market for tools and parts for home gunsmiths, but guess what, dummy? It’s totally legal.

  12. “Europe ushered in an age of relentless and often brutal experimentation that would forever change the character of weaponry, and thus the nature of human violence.”

    Human violence NEVER changed, only the methods by which we kill.
    As for the character of weaponry, the same argument Knights complained regarding the longbow, then the crossbow.

    It’s not the 3D printer, but a used 25k CNC machine and modular design of armaments that allow cost effective manufacturing and where the commoner can afford them.

  13. “Europe ushered in an age of relentless and often brutal experimentation that would forever change the character of weaponry, and thus the nature of human violence.”

    Human violence NEVER changed, only the methods by which we kill. As for the character of weaponry, the same argument Knights complained regarding the longbow, then the crossbow.

    It’s not the 3D printer, but a used 25k CNC machine and modular design of armaments that allow cost effective manufacturing and where the commoner can afford them.

  14. Does this include Redneck Gun Smithing? Have a Bersa Thunder9 UC Pro & Tanfoglio Pavona 9mm , both had uncomfortable triggers, would be painful after a few rounds. Wrapped black electrician tape around trigger on each one, problem solved!

  15. My favorite part is where he insists that the evil NRA is blocking the laws preventing homemade guns. I thought the NRA was a corporate shill, only protecting the profits of the gun industry? Isn’t a quality homemade gun the industry’s biggest nightmare? Wouldn’t Ford oppose legislation banning homemade cars?

    Hmm, I guess maybe the NRA is representing the liberty of the individual members.

  16. Why would I need to build a gun? Apparently, the government has installed free restroom dispensers.

  17. Don’t you just love the gun control lobby’s premise that “any” gun control legislation is unlikely to pass a republican controlled congress because they are “heavily beholden to the NRA and the gun lobby.” It never seems to occur to them that both the NRA, and we, are beholden to only one thing…..the U.S. Constitution. How many lawyers are now working their hardest to prove the 2nd A doesn’t say what we think it says? If you have to work this hard, or be this brazenly deceptive to justify your point….you’re wrong. Not only are you wrong, you’re wrong in the worst way you can be wrong. Anybody willing to infringe on the 2nd amendment, through legislation and outright deception, will gladly infringe on all the others.

    • People like this guy do not believe in the constitution. They do not believe that the government should be restrained by law. They want the ability for the government to pass any law they deem necessary to build their super special utopia. Although I have to say, after a spending deficit of 18 trillion we haven’t ever became close to their utopia. How much more will it take for their utopia to exist?

    • There was a recent bust in California where, among a host of other illicit activities, a group was making unlawful “assault weapons” (milled lowers) based on blanks they were churning out of a 3-D printer. Though how they know it is an illegal “assault weapon” when it is only a stripped lower I have no idea. Their is evidence that gang members are making their own ARs (based seizures incident to arrests), but there isn’t much evidence of their use in a crime. The only exception I can think of was that bank robbery in Stockton with the thousands of rounds fired an a hostage killed in the car in the final shoot out. One of the gang members involved had a homemade AK semiauto.

  18. Big fuss about “untraceable guns”, makes me wonder, what percentage of crimes uses the “traceability” of any firearms? I have never heard of such a case. So, what good is “traceability?” Why should we care? Some of our LEOs, can you shed any light here? Serial numbers I can understand, when we find a weapon and send it off for ballistics testing, it is nice to be able to confirm it remains the same gun, but that is not “tracing”, and could be accomplished by imprinting the gun right then.

  19. So, is it OK then if I’ve purchased locally designed and manufactured firearms that *weren’t* made in a garage or distributed by a black market? There are some good companies here in AZ. I don’t get whatever connection he thought he was making about “locophilia” and the fear-vomit about “proliferation” that came after. We’re “proliferating” just fine here via the free market, thanks.

  20. “Last year California Democratic Rep. Mike Honda introduced the Homemade Firearms Accountability Act, which would subject homemade guns to many of the same regulations as firearms sold commercially”

    Maybe he is doing this so his fellow California Democratic Reps. like Leland Yee. would have less competition in their side businesses.

  21. I’ll have to read this article later. I have a CETME-L and two AK kits to go build in my garage.

  22. “that medieval gunsmiths could hardly have imagined”

    That is actually an interesting thought and one that is very much not true: take as example mediaeval Czech Crown lands, where Hussites became the first army that utilized large numbers of firearms as one of its main tactics in the 1420s. And thanks to the firearms the Hussites were one of the few peasant armies in the history that successfully fought the best professional armies of its time to secure their own freedoms (especially religious freedom).

    The laws of the country were tailored in such a way that for a smith in 1400 to be able to (legally) make swords and armours, he needed to be a member of a guild. Of course, guilds were closed societies that had no interest in having the prices of the era’s most effective weapons lowered by more competition.

    Meanwhile the firearms were relatively new to the point that the law did not speak of them and any smith could – and did – make them. They were also quite heavy and cumbersome to use – both píšťala and hákovnice, the main hand-held firearms – but still were quite useful in the sieges to the point that the castle armouries were quite full of them just before the Hussite revolution due to their combination of effectiveness against heavy armour and low price.

    So while the professional guild members kept smithing the highly expensive swords and armours, many others extended their business of making farm tools and whatnot and jumped on the wagon of making new firearms. So, quite to the contrary, any medieval smith could very much imagine the age when anyone could make a firearm, because that is what was happening the moment firearms were developed to the point of some usefulness. Of course, up until the moment when the nobles realized that their armour which cost not that small fortune can be shot through by any peasant by something that cost that peasant not that much more than his usual pitchfork and started regulating the firearm manufacturing.

    • Great comment! Thanks for taking the time to share your insight into this mediaeval topic.

  23. It’s incomprehensible to me, but many progs are hostile to any form of self-reliance, even things as simple and sensible as following .gov’s advice for disaster prep.

    • That’s because if you’re self reliant you’re harder to control. The proles are much easier to keep submissive when everything they have is sucked from the government teat.

      • Yep.

        From the perspective of a big-government liberal, beggars are easier to keep happy than self-reliant people.

  24. Theory of the administrative state – lacking faith in people making their own choices, placing authority in a few people to make choices for everyone. “The better people”, obviously, “better” meaning the ones who agree with me.

    Utopia, seen as the place where everything not compulsory is forbidden.

  25. ” . . .Our culture has become obsessed of late with the virtues of the locally sourced: local vegetables, local meats, local soaps. . .”

    Basically, Holsinger’s article is a rather too lengthy whine from a committed statist, someone who get’s nervous at the mere thought that the state, which makes him feel all secure and warm, just might not have the reach into the lives of American citizens that he thinks it should. He’d never admit it of course, but the guy’s got a problem with the very concept of freedom. This is not too surprising, coming from someone like him, but he’s also missed another even more important point. Technology always advances ahead of society’s and government’s ability to adjust. New inventions alter critical social relationships, something that craft weapons making will certainly do. In the long run, technological innovation always advances freedom over control. And that is what has a statist like Holsinger so worried. Poor him. Yea us.

    • He forgets that the PC revolution basically started in someone’s garage, like HP. If it been left to IBM, where would we be now?

      • Exactly where we are right now.

        IBM got on board with the PC revolution after Apple and a slew of other small computer makers were cranking out systems based on the 8080/8080A, Z-80, 6502, 6809 and other chip/chipsets in the last 70’s. I’d have to go through an old BYTE magazine to remember them all just now. Some had S-100 bus architectures, some had proprietary bus architectures, some were single board systems, etc.

        IBM, following the path of many larger corporations, waited until the market was ‘more mature’ to avoid the snares of being pioneer in the field. Then they fielded a system based on binary compatibility with the 8080, which even then showed that Intel was breaking out as the dominant CPU maker.

        But you forget, or didn’t know, that IBM took a couple of good stabs at the desktop market before the PC system came out. You probably have never seen a IBM 5100, which they released six years before the IBM PC, which was originally going to be called the 5150, even tho the two machines shared almost nothing in architecture. The 5100 was a highly microcoded machine, simpler in LSI complexity, but somewhat slow due to running so much of the architecture in microcode.

        Ah, the good old days. When real men programmed desktop computers in APL. Now there’s a manly man’s computer language…

    • I’m sure the locally sourced foodstuffs bug the crap out of him too. There are all sorts of folks out there who hate the notion of a small farmer just selling some vegetables or eggs out of a roadside stand, without the benefit of health inspections, fees, permits, etc. They want their “organic” grub, but they still want it shrink-wrapped from corporate Amercica, because they still haven’t figured out where carrots actually come from.

  26. Pennsylvania readers, reminder to VOTE against idiots like this. May 19, 2015. See handy voter guide at – Firearm Owners Against Crime.

  27. Crossbow control now.

    Knights just want to go home safely to their castle at night.

  28. I love how he looks down on tool use as some kind of a fad pastime, as opposed to the underpinnings of his entire civilization.

  29. What’s hilarious about this is that much of the DIY, locally-grown, etc…movement is from the political Left. As a way of doing things naturally, by yourself, community, not relying on the Evil Big Corporations and all that. Grow your own natural food, make things home made, etc…DIY and self-reliance are not strictly libertarian concepts.

  30. I saw this yesterday and tried to comment-couldn’t navigate slate. but I bet this loser supports Charlie Hebdo and NO ONE in Garland,Texas…

  31. Ah, yes, those tyrannical libertarians… Plotting to take over the world and leave it ruthlessly alone since…er…forever.

    • Yea, that’s the mindset of liberals and statists. They worry that if everyone became a libertarian, there would be no fealty to the government employed nannies.

  32. Pantywaists like this would crap themselves if they see what I teach a youngster to do with a hand file.

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