Archive for the ‘Gun Rights’ tag
In a way I almost feel sorry for advocates of gun control. While they may be able to get some laws passed in certain individual states it matters not because fabricating firearms in the home is becoming easier every day. Somebody managed to print a functioning evolution of the Liberator on a consumer-grade 3D printer:
When high tech gunsmith group Defense Distributed test-fired the world’s first fully 3D-printed firearm earlier this month, some critics dismissed the demonstration as expensive and impractical, arguing it could only be done with a high-end industrial 3D printer and that the plastic weapon wouldn’t last more than a single shot. Now a couple of hobbyists have proven them wrong on both counts.
One evening late last week, a Wisconsin engineer who calls himself “Joe” test-fired a new version of that handgun printed on a $1,725 Lulzbot A0-101 consumer-grade 3D printer, far cheaper than the one used by Defense Distributed. Joe, who asked that I not reveal his full name, loaded the weapon with .380 caliber rounds and fired it nine times, using a string to pull its trigger for safety.
Here’s a video of the gun firing:
At this point it’s pretty safe to say anybody with a decent 3D printer can print a firearm. Still, a $2,000 3D printer is out of the price range of many people, but that’s OK. Let’s not forget the person who created an AR lower out of hand tools and polymer. There was also the guy who fabricated an AK receiver out of a shovel.
Gun control has been a fantasy for a long time but it keeps becoming more of a fantasy every day.
While I seldom involve myself in the great gun blogging community shenanigans there are events that do occur that I feel are newsworthy. One of my favorite bloggers to read, Linoge over at Walls of the City, has announced that he’s ducking out of the game. I will miss his writings but I understand his reasoning:
Now that we have gotten the stuff you do not care about out of the way, on to the things you might care about. As you may have noticed, I did not update this site for over a week, and, honestly, you had better get used to it. In addition to typing being a literal pain, I do this whole “weblogging” thing for me, not you, and, frankly, it has stopped being fun. I am tired of defending my Constitutionally-protected human rights from people who do not give a damn about my rights, me as a human being, or anything except their need to feel good, acquire power, or both. I am tired of watching my country be actively destroyed, knowing that nothing I can say or do will realistically change the outcome. I am tired of dealing with the passive-aggressive frakwits, back-stabbing, elitist prats, and/or self-appointed, petty gods-in-their-own-minds who seem to be infesting the gunblogging community these days… which, probably, was inevitable once it started moving from “community” to “industry”.
I went through this same phase some time ago. There is only so much one can say regarding guns and gun rights until they begin repeating themselves. At one point you eventually counter every argument advocates of gun control can bring forth (they seldom develop new arguments after all) and are left regurgitating the same stuff you’ve written 100 times before whenever some zealot who hates your guts for the sole reason that you disagree with their belief slithers across your path. Repetition sucks the fun out of life, especially when you’re repeating unpleasant encounters with people who hate you because you’re you. Such annoyances are amplified when people who claim to be part of your community begin moving against you.
Unless you’re being paid to write the burden of repetition eventually becomes greater than the joy attained from writing. Reaching this point, along with gaining a new understanding of statism, is what caused me to shift my focus from writing primarily about guns and gun rights to writing material about anarchism, alternatives to statist environmentalism, online privacy and security, etc. I enjoy writing but I don’t enjoy many of the side effects of writing about guns and gun rights. Between gun control advocates who want us dead and infighting within the gun rights community it can be a pain in the ass to blog about guns.
I’m surprised the blogger burnout rate isn’t higher in all honesty. There are some downright nasty individuals in the gun control movement and many very opinionated individuals in the gun rights movement. In such an environment stress can build quickly and fun can cease to exist. Did I mention that the pay sucks?
Adam Kokesh, the man who has won some notoriety in the gun rights community for planning an armed march in Washington DC, has been arrested:
Former marine, radio host and political activist Adam Kokesh was arrested at a marijuana legalization assembly in Philadelphia today, according to video and Facebook posts.
In a video of the Smoke Down Prohibition rally, policemen can be seen entering a crowd of activists, and shortly afterwards emerging with Kokesh in tow.
According to his Facebook page, Kokesh was reportedly hauled away in a white Chevy Suburban, although he “hadn’t even smoked yet,” while “other protesters were actually smoking and released after arrest…”
When I discussed Kokesh’s planned march I mentioned the possibility of his arrest happening before the event. It’s no atypical for the state to begin harassing somebody who is publicly making a mockery of its power so it comes as no surprise that the man who is planning to lead an armed march on Washington DC has not been arrested. At this point the arrest could be pure harassment or it could lead to actual charges, which would make this entire situation far more interesting.
John Tierney, a politician from Massachusetts, is introducing a bill that would require all firearm to be equipped with technology that prevents them from being used by anybody besides its owner. What makes this case interesting isn’t the legislation but Mr. Tierney’s justification:
A House Democrat inspired by the last James Bond movie has offered legislation to produce handguns with “personalization technology.”
The idea is to produce guns that can only be used by the gun’s owners. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) cited the latest James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” as inspiration for the bill.
Technology appearing in movies is now real? Awesome!
Seriously, my life is going to be so much better with a giant walking robot!
Reporters from The Daily Mail demonstrated, what they thought to be, the danger 3D printed firearms pose to society at large:
The Mail On Sunday today exposes the massive international security risk posed by a gun that can be easily made with new 3D printers.
We built the weapon, which is capable of firing a live round, from blueprints available on the internet – then smuggled it on to a packed Eurostar train.
Two reporters passed completely unchallenged through strict airport-style security to carry the gun on to a London to Paris service in the weekend rush-hour, alongside hundreds of unsuspecting travellers.
The reaction you’re supposed to have is, “Oh. My. God. Violent psychopaths are going to board our trains and planes with 3D printed guns and kill us all! Quick, government, save us!”
The reaction you should have is, “So? New technological advances have always outpaced current security measures.”
What the reporters discovered was an inherit danger in 3D printed firearms, it was an inherit danger in relying on security measures to protect you from evildoers. We humans, being creative creatures, have a knack of bypassing every security measure we implement. Did you put a lock on your door? No problem, a determined burglar will merely pick it open. Did you put a very secure lock on your door? No problem, a determined burglar will kick in one of your basement windows. Did you install a security system that automatically alerts the police if somebody enters your home? No problem, a burglar can be in and out before the police have a chance to respond.
We see this with airport security. Violent criminals have tried all manners of devious methods to bypass airport security. Metal detectors are ineffective at finding explosives. Bag checks can work if explosives are in a bag but fail if the explosives are concealed in a shoe. Body scanners can work to see concealed weapons, unless that weapon is smuggled in a body cavity.
Do 3D printed firearms really pose a great threat to passengers of trains and planes? Potentially, but not because the device can bypass security at gates. The threat comes from the centralized security models usually implemented on mass transit systems. Once you’re beyond the gate you’re almost entirely defenseless because it’s assumed that the train is a secured because passengers were required to go through the designated security checkpoint. In reality a clever person can either bypass those checkpoints or smuggle weapons through them.
There is no such thing as a “secured area.” Whatever mechanisms are used to secure the “secured area” can be bypasses, which will make that “secured area” and “unsecured area.” The only real option when it comes to implementing security is to decentralize is. Relying on a security checkpoint is akin to relying on police protection. Both systems have a handful of major failure points. If I can get a weapon beyond a security checkpoint I will likely enjoy free reign. So long as I can commit my crime before the police arrive I have a good chance of escaping, or at least completing my intended goal.
Being able to smuggle a 3D printed gun past security is only a threat because the people in the “secured area” are almost entirely defenseless.
It finally happened, the state finally made it’s move to suppress 3D printable firearms:
On Thursday, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson received a letter from the State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance demanding that he take down the online blueprints for the 3D-printable “Liberator” handgun that his group released Monday, along with nine other 3D-printable firearms components hosted on the group’s website Defcad.org, while it reviews the files for compliance with export control laws for weapons known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR. By uploading the weapons files to the Internet and allowing them to be downloaded abroad, the letter implies Wilson’s high-tech gun group may have violated those export controls.
“Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with final [commodity jurisdiction] determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled,” reads the letter, referring to a list of ten CAD files hosted on Defcad that include the 3D-printable gun, silencers, sights and other pieces. “This means that all data should be removed from public acces immediately. Defense Distributed should review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any other data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.”
I think we all knew this was coming. To tell the truth I hoped it would come. This was the overt act of censorship that was needed kick the Streisand effect into action and, in so doing, ensure that the 3D printer models created and hosted by Defense Distributed will never die. As it stands the number of seeds for the Defense Distributed files has jumped to several hundred. I’ve even found a Tor hidden service that is hosting the files (you need to use the Tor Browser Bundle to access that link). As I’ve heard several people say, you can’t stop the signal.
As I stated in my post explaining methods to render the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) irrelevant, the need for anonymity and strong encryption is greater today than ever. The state is trying to spy on our communications and censor material posted online. While some may wish to beg the state to allow information to flow freely we know they aren’t going to comply. Because of their desire to control information we must bypass their ability to detect and censor information they find objectionable.
When the state makes attempts like this to censor information it allows us to test our ability to preserve said information. As it stands more people have downloaded the 3D printer models provided by Defense Distributed than would have if the state hadn’t made an effort to censor the models. In fact I’ve had several friends who were uninterested in 3D printed guns ask if I knew where to get the files. Now that the files have been declared verboten everybody wants a copy. The state really shot themselves in the foot with this one.
While I understand that the most zealous gun control advocates are unlikely to listen to me because they believe I’m a psychopathic murderer who wants to kill children I know that there are a lot of logical individuals who currently advocate for gun control because they believe it will lead to a safer society. This post is for the latter group. I recently came across an interesting post on the Ludwig von Mises Institute website discussing the effects of cannabis prohibition:
Super potent pot is not a market failure. It is simply the result of government prohibition. In fact, it is one of the best examples of the iron law of prohibition. When government enacts and enforces a prohibition it eliminates the free market which is then replaced by a black market. This typically changes everything about “the market.” It changes how the product is produced, how it is distributed and sold to consumers. It changes how the product is packaged and in particular, the product itself. The iron law of prohibition looks specifically at how prohibition makes drugs like alcohol and marijuana more potent. The key to the phenomenon is that law enforcement makes it more risky to make, sell, or consume the product. This encourages suppliers to concentrate the product to make it smaller and thus more potent. In this manner you get “more bang for the buck.”
During alcohol prohibition (1920-1933), alcohol consumption went from a beer, wine, and whiskey market to one of rotgut whiskey with little wine or beer available. The rotgut whiskey could be more than twice as potent of the normal whiskey that was produced both before and after prohibition. The product is then diluted at the point of consumption. During the 1920s all sorts of cocktails were invented to dilute the whiskey and to cover up for bad smells and tastes.
The iron law of prohibition states that “the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes.” When a substance is prohibited the sellers and buyers of that substance have a vested interest in delivering the most bang for buck because the more of that substance they possess the harder it is to conceal. Small amounts of cannabis can be concealed in film canisters, flashlights (just take out the batteries), cell phones (once again, remove the battery), and any other object that has a hallowed out space. Large amounts of cannabis cannot be concealed so easily and therefore detection by law enforcement becomes much easier.
While the iron law of prohibition relates to drug prohibitions I think it’s also applicable to other forms of prohibition. Let’s look at the type of firearms preferred by violent criminals:
New state stats show that firearms were responsible for more than 58% of the murders statewide last year — but the biggest problem was handguns.
Of the 769 homicides reported in 2011, 393 were the result of handguns. There were 16 deaths by shotgun, five by rifle, and 33 by an unknown “firearm-type,” the state Division of Criminal Justice Services reports.
The Department of Justice’s Guns Used in Crimes [PDF] report backs that claim:
Although most crime is not committed with guns, most gun crime is committed with handguns. pages 1 & 2
This makes sense when you consider the iron law of prohibition. Much like cannabis buyers and sellers, violent criminals, especially ones who are prohibited from possessing firearms, have a vested interest in firearms that can be concealed from law enforcement. Laws prohibiting individuals from lawfully carrying firearms didn’t discourage people from carrying firearms, it merely made the need to possess concealable firearms greater. The same can be said for prohibiting certain individuals from carrying firearms, they now seek firearms that can be easily concealed.
This brings up an interesting consequence of enacting even stricter gun control laws. What would happen if advocates of gun control were able to achieve their goals of a partial or complete prohibition against firearms? Firearm manufacturing and transfers wouldn’t stop, they would simply move underground (or further underground in the case currently prohibited firearm transfers). In addition to moving underground the demand for firearms that deliver more bang for their buck would increase. Firearms would likely become more potent by decreasing in size, becoming more difficult to detect, and, potentially, increasing in power. Resources would be invested in working around the prohibition by making firearms that are more difficult for law enforcement officers to detect.
As it currently stands the demand for difficult to detect firearms is relatively low. Those of us who carry a concealed firearm want one that is difficult for the average person to detect but we usually care little if our firearm is easy for law enforcement agents to detect. Resources are put into making concealable firearms but not undetectable firearms. Criminals tend to favor currently produced firearms because they are cheaper than developing alternatives (everything is subject cost-benefit analysis). Few criminals are going to invest the resources in producing more potent firearms when currently available firearms are good enough. That would likely change under a stronger or complete prohibition. Suddenly the investment in resources to develop very difficult to detect firearms would make sense.
Prohibitions have consequences. When alcohol was prohibited in the United States manufacturers began distilling extremely potent liquors to deliver more bang for buck. The current cannabis prohibition has resulted in a similar outcome, cannabis today is far more potent then it was before the prohibition. A firearm prohibition would likely result in the same outcome, firearms would become more difficult to detect and potentially more powerful. This is something that advocates of gun control should consider when asking themselves if a prohibition would actually lead to a safer society.
As I pondered the outcome of Kokesh’s armed march on Washington DC I assumed that if violence was to break out it would happen because the state initiated it. As it turns out Washington DC’s police chief may prove me right:
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier was firm in her response. “If you’re coming here to protest government policy, great,” she told NewsChannel 8 yesterday. “If you’re coming here to break the law, we’ll take action.” She added, “There’s a pretty good chance we’ll meet them on the D.C. side of the bridge.” Lanier better hold true to her admonition because nothing good will come of this.
In other words they won’t allow anybody with guns into Washington DC and if anybody with a gun tries to enter Washington DC the police will send people with guns to stop them. That sounds rather hypocritical now that I think about it.
Since their support of the Manchin-Toomey Amendment I’ve been questioning whether or not the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is still supporting gun rights or has finally succumbed to The One Ring’s corrupting power. A post by Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned leads me to believe the latter:
We noticed SAF/CCRBKA’s booth on the NRA floor, but decided not to stop. But Think Progress did, and noticed they were handing out literature taking NRA to task over Manchin-Toomey:
But despite the bill’s (perhaps temporary) defeat in the Senate, CCRKBA doesn’t appear to be backing down — The Gun Mag, a Second Amendment Foundation publication, published an “NRA Meeting Special Issue” whose lead article takes apart the NRA’s line on Manchin-Toomey.
Many of the comments question the claim as it was posted on Think Progress. On the other hand neither the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) or SAF have refuted the claim.
It’s not wise for gun owners to support an organization that is trying to support gun control legislation and it’s even more unwise to support an organization that is trying to resurrect gun control legislation that has been put to rest. Because the charges against the CCRKBA and SAF are so severe and their previous behavior of supporting the Manchin-Toomey Amendment put their position into question I must hereby withdraw my support. If a representative of either organization is willing to come forth and refute the claim made by Think Progress I will reconsider but I will not give support to an organization that is trying to sell people down the river.
A couple of people have asked me about my thoughts on Adam Kokesh’s planned march in Washington DC. What makes the march worthy of conversation is that it will involve individuals marching with loaded rifles in spite of Washington DC’s prohibition against such activities.
If it was anybody but Kokesh was organizing the march I would expect an convenient excuse to cancel the event to be made shortly before it was scheduled to begin. While I’m not the biggest Adam Kokesh fan due to his abrasive nature he has proven himself willing to spit in the face of the law, which makes this event a real possibility in my mind. With that said, it sounds like the event does have a cop out, Kokesh mentions that there needs to be 1,000 participants for the event to occur. This makes sense since acts of civil disobedience require a mass of people large enough to discourage the police from moving in on the crowd.
If the event actually occurs and there are enough participants to discourage the police from interfering I think this march will go down without incident. History demonstrates that mass acts of civil disobedience, if uninterrupted by agents of the state, usually go down peacefully. However I question whether or not the event will be allowed to occur. Who’s to say that Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) won’t arrest the primary organizers of this event a few days before it’s scheduled to begin? The FBI has a history of pulling such stunts. If the FBI doesn’t pull such shenanigans and the event does occur I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more agent provocateurs were inserted into the group specifically to cause trouble. Again such tactics aren’t unprecedented. It will be important for the organizers of this event to warn participants to immediately disassociate themselves with anybody in the crowd trying to instigate violence and to actively intervene in attempted acts of violence. There are many ways for this event to be prevented from happening or twisted into something ugly if it does happen but that’s a potential risk of any acts of mass civil disobedience.
Many gun rights activists have expressed concern about the image that this kind of event could create but that’s not really a concern of mine. No matter what we do as gun owners the advocates of gun control will hate us. In the eyes of the most zealous and outspoken gun control advocates we’re vicious monsters who want nothing more than to murder every wholesome person in the world. If a bunch of gun owners perform an armed march on Washington DC the gun control advocates will scream bloody murder. If gun owners don’t perform an armed march on Washington DC the gun control advocates will still scream bloody murder. We can’t win with them so we shouldn’t worry ourselves with what they think.
I’ve also heard several gun rights activists express the fact that it will only takes one person to do something stupid for this event to turn into a bloodbath. To that I can only ask, do we really believe what we preach about gun rights? Do we not believe that an armed society is a polite society? Do we not believe that an increased presence of armed individuals increases the cost of performing violent and therefore discourages such behavior? I do believe those things and therefore am not very concerned about one of our own doing something stupid, at least not stupid enough to start a firefight. The agent provocateur risk springs to mind when fellow gun rights activists mention the risk of one of our own doing something stupid but that risk can also be mitigated as I explained above.
I have no issue with the idea of the event itself. I’m a proponent of civil disobedience because it’s the only tactic that has proven to be effective at enacting meaningful political change in this country. If the march happens it will send a powerful and simple message to anybody watching: we the people are not afraid of the state. The point of civil disobedience is to demonstrate to observers that the state’s laws are meaningless unless people are willing to obey them. An armed march on Washington DC may be the act necessary to demonstrate the state’s inability to regulate firearms or it may not. Either way it’ll be interesting to see what comes of this event. I wish the participants the best of luck and encourage them to follow examples set by previous mass civil disobedience events by remaining entirely nonviolent.