AG Maura Healey
Suddenly the hot topic is 3D printers, the Internet, and Freedom of Speech.
Why? “Because gun”.
This week, the hot news topic suddenly became 3D printed firearms and the ability to share plans to make one at home. There’s not much new here regarding this story except for a court victory based on protection of First Amendment rights, which recognizes that the plaintiff, Defense Distributed has the right to share plans on the internet.
Their victory over the State Dept. triggered panic and outrage from the anti Second Amendment coalition, including our Attorney General, Maura Healey, who joined twenty other states in filing suit against the State Department to stop Defense Distributed from sharing plans.
To people that don’t like guns, this probably sounds reasonable. I’ve even seen some quotes in the news from gun dealers who think this is reasonable. Let me tell you what they are missing, and why the gun prohibitionists are trying to instill panic in the uninformed public.
First, it’s perfectly legal for a person to make a firearm at home. This has been happening in the United States since before we were the United States. If a person is federally prohibited from owning a firearm, it is against the law for them to make one, just like it’s against the law for them to buy one, or file the serial number off of one, or carry one with a filed off serial number.
Second, the plans are already all over the internet. Yesterday a leading online gun news website published a story with a bunch of links to downloadable files which would give any machinist, the ability to make a receiver, or a gun.
Third, any experienced machinist worth his salt could make most any metal receiver in a day or two, and go into mass production shortly after that without even using plans. Remember when zip guns were all the rage? Or “Saturday Night Specials”? This is the 2018 version of that charade.
Fourth, 3D printers capable of making a working firearm cost thousands of dollars. A criminal isn’t going to take the time to learn how to use a 3D printer, spend said money to acquire the computer and hardware necessary, and start cranking them out when real guns are readily available at a fraction of the cost on the black market. Not to mention, if a criminal has the skill to operate all of that hardware and software, it’s highly unlikely that they would choose a life of crime.
Last, the anti gun coalition used a lot of scary sounding verbiage about “ghost guns” that can’t be detected by metal detectors. Those statements are completely and utterly false. Federal law clearly defines what constitutes an “undetectable gun” and these devices are NOT coming out of 3D printers. Here are the federal and state laws regarding them.
18 USC 922(p)
(A) that, after removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar; or
(B) any major component of which, when subjected to inspection by the types of x-ray machines commonly used at airports, does not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component. Barium sulfate or other compounds may be used in the fabrication of the component
Chapter 140, Section 131N. No person shall sell, offer for sale, transfer or possess any weapon, capable of discharging a bullet or shot, that is: (i) constructed in a shape that does not resemble a handgun, short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun including, but not limited to, covert weapons that resemble key-chains, pens, cigarette-lighters or cigarette-packages; or (ii) not detectable as a weapon or potential weapon by x-ray machines commonly used at airports or walk-through metal detectors. Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall be punished, for a first offense, by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and for a second offense, by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $15,000 or by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 15 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
As to the panic generation, the anti gun coalition needs the general public to believe that they are working to keep them safe. Their oxygen is selling the illusion of safety. If people were suddenly able to lawfully manufacture their own firearms, for their own personal protection at home, the illusion of safety propagated by gun control legislation would come crumbling down. And they would come right down with it, finally exposing for all to see, the futility of gun control laws.
This is why they continue to instill fear and propel misinformation, they are scared that the truth will come out, and that’s the last thing they want.