Tag: Technology

Stephen Frank writes at California Political Review:

Seriously, if you are in your garage, manufacturing a gun, would you tell government?  If you were in your computer room using a 3-D printer to create a gun, why would you tell government?  The reason you are doing it yourself is that you do not trust government.  For instance, if you are in a messy divorce and your spouse claims abuse, government can take your weapons without any proof of a crime.  None.  We no longer live in a constitutionally protected nation—think about the illegal aliens allowed to break the law, with the protection of government.

We’ve mentioned this before. If you hate guns, but love the rule of law, then you should hate gun laws. They do not actually control guns or gun ownership. Instead, they encourage lawlessness and make the legal system contemptible. If your desire is a peaceful society with less violence, then the very last thing you ought to be doing is causing the People themselves to hate and despise the laws that are supposed to govern them. This is what gun laws like AB 857 do. They make criminals out of the law abiding and do nothing to stop actual criminals.

AB 857 Anti-gun Legislation News State

A few weeks ago, I posted this update about AB 1673 before the amended text was actually published. In it, I implied that the latest, amended version of the bill would require gun parts such as buffer springs to be serialized and treated like fully functional firearms. This is incorrect. The amended bill has finally been posted and, as currently written, AB 1673 reads:

As used in the following provisions, “firearm” includes the finished frame or receiver of the weapon, or the unfinished frame or receiver of a weapon that can be readily converted to the functional condition of a finished frame or receiver: weapon, or a frame or receiver blank, casting, or machined body, that is designed and clearly identifiable as a component of a functional weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a projectile by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion.

Here is the bill’s text without the potentially confusing formatting:

As used in the following provisions, “firearm” includes the frame or receiver of the weapon, or a frame or receiver blank, casting, or machined body, that is designed and clearly identifiable as a component of a functional weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a projectile by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion.

As you can clearly see, I erred when I implied that components made using wireform processes were covered by the bill. They are not. But then again, wireforms are just about the only manufacturing process that’s not covered by the bill. Anything “clearly identifiable as a component of a functional weapon” made using casting or machining processes would have to be serialized and treated like a fully functional firearm.

Now you might argue that I’m being obtuse in this interpretation. “Obviously, the intent of this bill is to regulate so-called 80% receivers. See? It says ‘frame or receiver’ in the text.” Then why is the word “component” in the text? If this really is about 80% receivers, then the text should read:

As used in the following provisions, “firearm” includes the frame or receiver of the weapon, or a frame or receiver blank, casting, or machined body, that is designed and clearly identifiable as a component frame or receiver of a functional weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a projectile by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion.

And since the “80% receiver” concept has its origins in Federal law, why not quote the relevant sections of the US Code? Either Mr. Gipson is truly ignorant when it comes to firearms technology or he really does intend to regulate everything in a firearm that isn’t made using wireform processes. If the former is true, then why on Earth is he being allowed to write gun laws?! If the latter is true, then he clearly holds contemptuous view of the People of California.

But as a general rule, when one can explain another’s actions as being the result of either stupidity or malice, it’s best to assume that stupidity is to blame. So until he says otherwise, we’ll have to assume that Mr. Gipson is acting out of mere intellectual impairment.

AB 1673 Anti-gun Legislation News State

I’m quite sure that the idea of applying free market solutions to gun safety gives the typical gun hater the heebeegeebees. They’re usually the sort that want government to drive solutions to this, that , or the other societal concern. The thought of “the rabble” deciding what’s best is, well, unthinkable. When it comes to gun safety, their ideas are as a rule unworkable or impractical. Their solutions also come with laws that attempt to force you to use their “product”. One of their bright ideas is mandating the purchase of a “gun lock” with every new firearm. These usually end up locking everything but a firearm. (The last one I was forced to buy is a nice lock, but it’s better suited to securing the dressing room door on our horse trailer than a handgun.)

So why is this the case? It’s simple: You cannot market a product that no one wants. There’s a reason why there’s no such thing as celery flavored beer, sweet-and-sour birthday cake, or Carolina Reaper flavored bubble gum. This also explains the wild success of smart guns in the retail market. Nobody wants them.

At first blush, they may sound like an interesting idea. But, as you dig in a little bit, you realize that this is a product being marketed to gun muggles, not gun owners. It’s just not practical to put a hackable computer between you and your self defense firearm. Strike 1.

And they’re expensive. Strike 2.

And they have yet to prove themselves capable of withstanding common gun cleaning chemicals or harsh environmental conditions. Strike 3.

Gun haters bemoan the lack of these gizmos on gun store shelves. They blame the NRA, of course. Their stock solution to this “problem” is, no surprise here, to demand laws mandating their sale. The real reason they’re not flying off the shelves is that there’s no demand for them. The free market has spoken, and its answer is a resounding “NO!”. Does this mean that there is no market whatsoever for gun safety products? Of course not.

Gun users design some handy and thus marketable tools for increasing gun safety. For example, the ZØRE gun lock from Israel was designed with defensive use in mind. Once it’s unlocked, racking the slide on your pistol disengages it, throws it clear, and leaves you with a ready-to-go handgun. It comes with an app for monitoring the lock for tampering as well as a feature for timing yourself to see how quickly you can disengage it. The app can even be set up to “surprise” you as a practice drill. Hornady offers its Rapid Rack empty chamber indicator for AR platform rifles and some shotguns. It does more than indicate an empty chamber, it’s designed to act as a charging handle. Pull on its big, red handle and it strips itself away from your firearm to make it instantly available for use. The market already has products like retention holsters and gun safes to prevent unauthorized access. All of these are gun safety products offered to gun owners who actually want to spend money on them. In other words, these are free market solutions.

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It is often pointed out that UK government officials treat George Orwell’s “1984” less like the dire warning it was intended to be, and more as an instruction manual. Further evidence of this was provided this week when an astute member of the UK shooting community brought attention to an admission that UK intelligence agencies are using centralized records of UK firearm owners in their efforts to target “terrorists.”

Source: NRA-ILA | Snoopers’ Charter Reveals Extent of UK Gun Owner Surveillance; Provides Warning for Americans

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AB 1663 AB 1664 AB 1673 AB 1674 Anti-gun News State

Tomorrow, the Assembly Public Safety Committee is scheduled to hear several anti-gun bills. These include Assemblyman Levine’s attempt to ban “bullet button” guns. Never mind that the bullet button was designed to comply with California law, those “10-clip magazines” have still got to go!

Is it just me, or would it be nice with these yutzes at least took the time to learn the vocabulary of a particular field before they start legislating about it? Perhaps I’m just being picky, but it’s like going to a doctor who doesn’t know that bulimia and leukemia are two different things. I suppose that I should at least be grateful that he’s not babbling about the shoulder thing that goes up.

You can find contact info for the committee members here. Call or email (or call and email) the committee members and politely tell them just how stupid these bills are.

AB 1663 AB 1664 AB 1673 AB 1674 Anti-gun Legislation State

You can’t unring a bell.

I just fixed a link for, I think, the 3rd time. The link is to a story about 3D printed AK magazines. I’ve also fixed links to 3D solid model files more than once. Typically, the site I’ve linked to either deletes a page or, as seems to be the case in this last one, the site goes down altogether. But, about 60 seconds of quality time with Google finds alternative sites and the links get edited.

The point is that once a technology, or information about that technology, gets into “the wild”, there’s no stopping it. You can’t convince the genie to get back into his bottle. This is true for 3D printing of firearms in particular and for firearms manufacturing in general. The former is inexpensive and growing more common by the day. You can find the printers at places like The Home Depot or Walmart. The latter is a mature (>700 years old) technology that can be practiced in a garage in Flagstaff, Arizona, in an adobe walled workshop in Darra Adam Khel, Pakistan, or in a barn in the backwoods of Luzon. You can’t uninvent something.

And yet, this is precisely what the gun grabbers would have us do.

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Most people can delude themselves into believing they’re safe from a multitude of unfamiliar dangers. This is probably because we want to be safe from these things, but do not really know how to actually achieve that goal. Call it whistling past the graveyard, but we accept what someone else calls safety when it comes to a subject where we lack experience. Firearms safety is a case in point. Many a gun muggle will accept without question what someone with a teleprompter and a nice suit tells them.

No one, unless they’re utterly devoid of decency, wants unsafe firearms in our society. As gun owners, we drill the basic rules of gun safety into the heads of new shooters: Do not load a gun until you’re ready to use it, do not put your finger, or anything else, on the trigger until you’re about to shoot, and never, ever let the gun point at something you’re unwilling to see destroyed. We know guns and we know what they can do if mishandled. No one is more interested in gun safety than a gun owner. So when a gun owner balks at using a “safety” device, you should wonder about the device and not the gun owner.

The latest “safety” device to fail to earn the trust of gun owners is the “smart” gun. President Obama has ordered the DOD, DOJ, and Homeland Security to investigate use of these devices by government personnel. But Ars Technica founder Jon Stokes questions the efficacy of this technology. He wrote in the L.A. Times:

Gun owners are terrified of anything that might make their guns less reliable. And when they consider the frequency with which their $700 smart phone’s fingerprint scanner fails when presented with a clean, dry, perfectly-positioned thumb, they rightly conclude that putting any type of electronic lock on their Glock will likely make them less secure, not more.

Stokes also notes that “smart” guns that communicate with some sort of external device, like a big, ugly watch that only the authorized user is supposed to wear, could be detected by the same hardware credit card thieves use to sniff out RFID equipped cards. This either makes the gun owner a target for theft or it marks them as something to avoid; which then puts you, the unarmed one in the crowd, into the thief’s crosshairs.

There are other safety concerns…

  • If the “smart” part of the gun fails, does it let the gun fire for anyone or no one? Either can lead to disaster if gun is in the hands of someone who can’t answer the question.
  • If they’re having a really, really bad day on the job, can Officer Smith pick up Officer Jones’ “smart” gun and use it? Or does he have to get Officer Jones’ big, ugly watch first?
  • Stokes notes the potential for hacking. How many police officers or soldiers would want a service weapon that the bad guys could shut off with a smartphone app?
  • How many gun owners would want that same gun with its hidden remote kill switch?
  • When it comes to water or gun cleaning chemicals, can the “smart” part of the gun take a joke? Most electronics don’t play well with moisture or oil.

It’s these unknowns and others that make “smart” guns so unappealing to gun owners. We realize that they make our guns less safe for us and our loved ones. This is why there’s no market for them, not some nefarious plot by the dreaded gun lobby.

So why is the President pushing the technology?

I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that, like all decent people, he wants guns to be safer. But bless his little heart, he has no idea what he’s talking about. He doesn’t understand firearms, let alone ones with untested features. He doesn’t understand how safe guns are. The number of gun related accidents has been falling in the US for decades. But rather than seek advice from the nation’s premier gun safety organization, the NRA, he sought out the opinions of other, equally ignorant, gun muggles.

And he’s going to bitterly cling to their bad advice.

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As we’ve mentioned before, the California “microstamping” law is nothing more than a way to stop the sales of new handgun designs in this State. This was never about safety or solving crimes. It’s an incremental gun ban.

The California Rifle and Pistol Associate has posted this update on the law and the lawsuits that have been filed to stop it. As predicted, the law is drying up the supply of “not unsafe” handguns available in California; including newer and safer models.

Conscientious gun manufacturers often make minor changes to their products as new technology or manufacturing processes become available so consumers get the best, most reliable products on the market. Even though these minor changes are made, manufacturers typically do not change the product model numbers. Under California rules, however, handgun models with any such minor changes, even if for the purpose of increasing safety, must be equipped with microstamping capability or the handgun must be recertified before it can be re-listed on the Roster.

Gun manufacturers now face an impossible dilemma. To comply with California’s current interpretation of the UHA, once a minor change is made to a pistol the only way a gun manufacturer can get it back on the Roster is to incorporate microstamping technology into the firearm. But gun manufacturers can’t, don’t, and won’t do so.

As a result, roughly 10% of the models that were legal to sell here 15 days ago have been pulled from store shelves because they lack a technologically impossible feature and are thus “unsafe”. If you lived in “Free America” you could still buy these, but not here in the land of fruits and nuts.

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