Knowing the law is apparently not important to the people trying to pass new ones.
The anti-gun left is once again up in arms — if you’ll pardon the pun — over something that is already illegal. This time, they’re wringing their hands over 3D printed firearms, but can’t seem to be bothered to check existing laws first.
Information is not supposed to be banned. The First Amendment was enacted to ensure that freedom of speech in all of its forms is not trampled on … but the free exchange of information now has Democrats and even some Republicans playing Chicken Little.
“The Trump administration is reversing a rule that banned people from posting instructions on how to make a fully-functioning gun at home with a 3D printer,” Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, breathlessly posted last Wednesday.
“This is a dangerous decision and we are demanding answers,” he continued, taking a stance echoed by many lawmakers.
3D printers, as you may know, are fairly expensive devices that allow plastic parts to be crafted from downloaded plans. The key word here is plastic: The printers are only capable of molding soft resin, not metal.
That means that while the so-called “3D printed firearms” can be partially created if someone has the expensive printer and detailed blueprints, metal parts still need to be added before a functioning gun can be made.
And — as you might have guessed — there are already clear laws dealing with those kinds of home-made guns.
While the hysteria is reaching a fever pitch, the National Rifle Association brought a bit of calm thinking to the debate on Tuesday.
“Many anti-gun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3D printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms,” the NRA pointed out in a statement.
“Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years,” continued NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox.
In simple terms, even if 3D printers could create truly “undetectable” guns (and remember, they can’t), those firearms would be instantly illegal.
“Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm,” the NRA spokesman explained.
He’s right on target. Around that time, there was a similar uproar over then-newfangled handguns like the Glock, which were deemed “plastic pistols” by the media due to their innovative use of polymer grips and components.
As anyone who has ever seen a Glock knows, of course, huge parts of the firearm are still metal, including the barrel and slide. Nevertheless, the firearm-illiterate left flew into a tizzy at the false prospect of those guns going undetected through security checkpoints, and passed redundant laws in response.
“The federal Undetectable Firearms Act, which was passed in 1988, made it illegal to manufacture or possess a weapon that would not be detected in a properly functioning metal detector or x-ray machine,” reported The Daily Caller.
Here’s the reality: Firearms aren’t actually that complicated.
A shotgun, after all, is essentially a metal tube with a simple hammer. To a knowledgeable person, the local hardware store or a metal-working shop would be far more “dangerous” than the current fad of 3D plastic printers.
The current push to criminalize information and turn home hobbyists into felons will do nothing to actually stop violent criminals. There are already laws against “undetectable” guns — not to mention laws against murder.
If politicians are truly interested in cutting crime, they should support law enforcement and responsible armed citizens. Anything else is just empty posturing.
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