3D Printed Guns Are About to Change Everything
If you’ve spent any time playing Fallout 4, (not that anyone here has, ahem), then you’re at least passingly familiar with the idea of the improvised firearm; a homemade projectile weapon that uses a hardened chamber to control an explosion in order to propel a projectile. You may have heard of prisoners making guns from soap and while this is probably just a legend, it does capture the idea of an improvised firearm.
But the future of the clandestine firearm is much more real, close to home, and relevant than you might think. Homemade guns are gaining relevance due to the fact that there are multiple ways to make them and many of those methods are completely legal. What that means is, anyone with sufficient ingenuity and the means to obtain the necessary equipment can have a firearm with no license, no background check, and a minimal paper trail.
Law enforcement are calling them “ghost guns.” They are guns that have no serial number, made from parts that can be purchased online with no license, authorization, or training. The primary component is a part called an “unfinished” or “80%” receiver. It is the key component of a firearm, the heart of the weapon which properly and accurately constrains the parts that direct the explosion which powers the projectile.
The receiver, or in the case of the AR15, the “lower receiver,” is the only part of a gun that cannot be obtained without going through the ordinary legal hurdles. An 80% receiver can be bought online and finished at home using one of three methods; by using a drill press to mill out the missing cavities, by using a 3-D printer to create a plastic receiver, or by purchasing a computer controlled mill called the Ghost Gunner.
The drill press method requires owning a large professional drill press. A high-quality press can cost a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars and the skill level required to complete an unfinished receiver takes some time to develop.
A worthwhile 3-D printer will cost between $500 to $5000, and the result is a plastic receiver with a pretty limited lifespan. The most famous 3-D printed gun is called the Liberator. It is a one-time use gun that can fire only one bullet safely. It might survive two or three shots, but that’s not recommended.
The Ghost Gunner costs about $2100 after shipping and handling. It is the most expensive option- but it is also the most reliable. And it makes it possible for someone to create many guns.
Recently, President Trump consulted the NRA for advice on how to go forward as the legal battles and the debates over this technology evolve. Democrats launched a major initiative to prevent Trump from allowing one Texas company to disseminate their 3-D printing blueprints online.
Last Tuesday, Trump had this to say on Twitter, “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”
The White House Press Secretary commented, “The president is committed to the safety and security of all Americans and considers this his highest responsibility. In the United States, it is currently illegal to own or make a wholly, plastic gun of any kind — including those made on a 3-D printer. The administration supports this nearly two-decade-old law.”
But the 80% receiver is not plastic. They are made from what the law considers to be nothing but a block of aluminum- and the end product is all metal. When finished, they can be fitted with plastic parts made from a 3-D printer- but some metal parts are needed to produce a gun that will last more than a limited number of rounds.
Recently, ReasonTV wanted to prove that gun laws could be skirted by showing a video with instructions on how to make a gun at home. YouTube refused to host the video- so ReasonTV put it up on PornHub, where it is still able to be viewed.
Of course, people have been buying black powder revolvers for decades and converting them to cartridge revolvers by switching the cylinder- all through the mail with no legal hurdles. So, there’s really nothing new about so-called “ghost guns.”
What all of this proves is that with modern technology- anyone can obtain a firearm. All the while, as gun control advocates are screaming their heads off- gun violence statistics continue to go down. It begs the question- what’s all the hubbub about?
~ National Gun Network