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About those 3D guns…

In May 2013, Cody Wilson, through his Austin-based company Defense Distributed, created the Liberator, a nearly entirely 3-D printed, single-shot .380 ACP pistol for which he freely shared the plans for online. In the first two days, the files were downloaded nearly 100,000 times. Then the federal government, specifically the State Department under John Kerry, demanded the plans for the Liberator be pulled from the website until further notice under international arms regulations, citing “the United States government claims control of the information.”

Wilson, allied with the Second Amendment Foundation, challenged that logic in court and won the settlement announced this week that will see DefDist once again post 3-D gun files starting Aug. 1 via Defcad.com. “The age of the downloadable gun begins.”

And they aren’t just about the Liberator anymore:

More in my column at Guns.com.

Those pesky ghost guns

In California, it is pretty tough for one of the 13 million estimated legal gun owners to buy an AR-15 or similar gun deemed by local law since 1989 to be an “assault weapon” without seriously neutering the firearm itself to be compliant. Fast forward nearly 30 years, numbers of (non-compliant) ARs still pop up with regularity in gun crime. Recently, the ATF and LAPD busted a group associated with street gangs that were operating DIY gun mills from Hollywood area weekly-rent hotels that made ARs and Glocks from 80 percent lowers.

Some of the firearms appear to violate National Firearm Act regulations for short-barreled rifles. Go big or go home, I guess. (Photo: LAPD)

So, just regulate “ghost guns” right?

Here’s the funny part: under a bill, signed into law in 2016 by Gov. Jerry Brown, legal builders of homemade firearms have to first obtain a serial number through the state Department of Justice to complete their built and abide by a myriad of California laws.

Sheesh.

More in my column at Guns.com

A new SCOTUS, a new take on the Second Amendment?

With Justice Kennedy moving on to enjoy some twilight years after more than four decades on the bench (he was originally an appointment of the Ford administration), the question of gun rights comes into play in the newly recast Roberts court.

Both sides are pulling out knives ready to fight over the issue. I spoke to several stake holders involved.

Of kafkaesque impossibilities and slow motion handgun bans

Want a Glock 19X in California? hahaha. Not going to happen unless you buy it “off roster”

Starting in 2013, California’s safe handgun roster– those new guns able to be bought over the counter at a gun shop without being law enforcement officer– has been quietly shrinking. This is because since then the state said that all new semi-autos must use microstamping technology to imprint a number into each ejected shell casing unique to the gun.

While a neat concept, no one makes a handgun that can actually pull it off, so it has been impossible to add any new model pistol to the list in the past five years as, since it can’t microstamp, it can’t be approved as a “safe” gun for sale by Sacramento functionaries regardless of how many internal and external safties it has or how low capacity the magazine is.

So sue to fix this until microstamping tech is a real thing, right?

Well, a couple of gun industry groups did, taking it all the way to the state supreme court. The outcome? The court, in a 19-page ruling last week, said that the law is the law, regardless of what was or wasn’t possible.

True story. More in my column at Guns.com.

Why I have always been a fan of 80 percent lowers

I have about dozen 80-percent aluminum AR and polymer Glock lowers on hand and about enough LPKs, extra barrels, slide and uppers to complete about half of those if/when I choose. The best thing is, as long as a follow NFA regs (no SBRs, no select fire, etc), and don’t move to sell them while “engaging in the business” it is all 100 percent legal to complete them to my heart’s content with no worries. I’ve even considered getting one of Cody Wilson’s Ghost Gunner desktop receiver mills, but am too cheap.

Ahhhhh

But then there is the Garden State.

Last week, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal sent letters to a number of gun parts manufacturers threatening legal action unless they halt future sales in New Jersey.

Grewal’s action targets unnamed “ghost gun makers” who he argues advertise 80 percent receivers, builds and kits to New Jersey residents. The AG is threatening them with a possible civil action under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, with as much as a $10,000 penalty for initial offenses. He holds that fraud is committed because the makers do not disclose that possessing a firearm classified under state law as an unregistered “assault weapon” in New Jersey is a crime.

Of course, we are talking about solid lumps of partially machined metal here, so there is that…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Where NICS appeals go to die

Part of the Brady Bill, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) went live at the tail-end of 1998 and since then they have processed 289 million checks. Most go through in under a minute.

I can remember working at a sporting good store for a few years moonlighting from my day job in my 20s and performing hundreds of checks in that time period. However, every now and then, you would get a “delay” while they are making a decision that requires more than a simple look-see. These come back later as either a “proceed” or a “denied.”

While there have been 1.5 million denials over the past 20 years, that doesn’t mean 1.5 million people who shouldn’t have a gun were kept from getting one.

In a lot of cases, guys with a spotty record will shop around and run a check several times over several years. Then again, there are a good many legit mixups, especially on people with common names. Odds are, if your name is Bill Johnson, there are probably a few prohibited firearms possessors that share your moniker, and it can jack up your profile– seems far-fetched but remember, this is the federal government here.

A lot of denials are appealed by those who were told to buzz off and, when the FBI eventually figures out where the mistake is, they fix it and the person gets greenlighted to buy a gun.

The problem is, appeals for denials have been glacial since 2015 due to understaffing at NICS, which means people who were refused for no reason can’t often get their record corrected.

I spoke with a pair of lawyers representing five plaintiffs (and 100 more pending) in a federal lawsuit who are in just a such a pickle. In covering the case for Guns.com, I have gotten several emails from readers who have similar problems, leading me to think this may be more widespread than people know.

More on the case here

There could be more public shooting ranges

The USFWS Range in Brooklyn, MS. I trek there often when my normal ranges are booked and love to spend a quiet morning there. It’s free, and public, funded by PRWRA dollars. Everyone should have easy access to such on public land, but sadly, this is not the case. (Photo: Chris Eger)

A bipartisan measure that could see the number of shooting ranges available on public land expanded was reported out of committee last week in the U.S. House.

The proposal would use money already made available to the federal government through the Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, commonly referred to as Pittman–Robertson after the two lawmakers pivotal to its passage. This 80-year-old law uses an excise tax levied on all firearms and ammunition sold or imported into the country to perform conservation-related tasks as varied as restoring elk habitat to funding safety programs and establishing public shooting ranges.

It is hoped by supporters of the bill that the move to up the number of public ranges will help turn around flagging numbers of hunters in the field.

More in my column at Guns.com

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