December 10, 2020
If anti-gunners have a talent, it is devising clever names for what they wish to ban. The terms become buzz words in the media in an attempt to scare the general public into agreeing that such guns should be removed from the market. Consider “assault weapons,” “cop-killer bullets” and “Saturday Night Specials,” for example. Each of these targeted categories resulted in bans under state or federal law. The latest term is “ghost guns.” Also referred to as “untraceable firearms,” states have already made moves to ban homemade firearms.
Federal law allows individuals who can otherwise legally possess firearms to manufacture guns for their own individual use. In recent years, we have seen the widespread availability of so-called “80 percent” receivers. These are partially machined components that allow endusers the opportunity to complete the process of manufacturing their own firearms. Despite being characterized by The Trace as requiring “a little elbow grease,” machining the final 20 percent of a firearm receiver is more difficult than it sounds and requires specialized equipment and fixtures to complete. Like most of you, I am a believer in law and order. If an individual is finishing receivers for profit without a license, they are already breaking the law.
Several states including California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Washington have passed laws regulating or banning the practice of making one’s own firearm. Bills have been filed in both houses of the U.S. Congress to do the same. The gun control section on former Vice President Joe Biden’s website lists “stopping ghost guns” as a priority of his administration, if he is elected. There is also legislation pending that would prohibit the sale of the CNC and milling machines used to finish 80 percent receivers such as the Ghost Gunner series from Defense Distributed ($2,100, ghostgunner.net). That’s right, now the government aims to ban the tools that could be used to make a gun. The state of New Jersey has even filed lawsuits against companies marketing 80 percent receivers.
Anti-gun advocates will tell you that ghost guns have been used in numerous high-profile crimes, including a handful of cases in California. When I investigated those cases, though, media reports suggested that the receivers may have been obtained “illegally,” meaning they were not made by the shooters. By obtaining these receivers, these criminals were already breaking the law. Even if they made them at home, they still violated the Gun Control Act of 1968 if they weren’t otherwise qualified to buy a gun.
If prohibited possessors are using this method to circumvent the law, those persons should be prosecuted. Period. That doesn’t seem to be a priority of those who are anti-gun, as evidenced by the precipitous drop in federal gun prosecutions during the Obama Administration. To restate the record, prosecutions rose 23 percent after President Trump took office and were at a 20-year high in 2019.
The real issue is fear. The antis hate the idea of you owning a firearm that they don’t know about and can’t regulate. What they don’t know about, they cannot confiscate. If you think that no administration in the U.S. would ever come for your guns, you’re being naïve.
I don’t own an unserialized firearm, but I support the right of law-abiding citizens to build and possess them. If they commit a crime with them, jail time is deserved. If not, the government should leave these Americans and their property well enough alone.
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