Unless you have been under a rock, President Biden last week took executive action to order the DOJ to come up with a rule to regulate 80-percent complete firearm frames and receivers, something that has long been pushed by anti-gun groups and progressive politicians looking to get their face on the news.
The basic problem with the “80 percent” designation is that it is a marketing gimmick just as much as the term “Ghost Gun” is, and is not a real-life thing. The ATF looks at a firearm as being 100 percent a firearm, or 100 percent not a firearm. There is no such thing under the law as being anything between, hence the ability to sell such kits through the mail with no checks or regulations– because they just are not guns.
It is too hard to come up with a realistic rule for such things.
Take an AK47 or G3 style rifle. They have a receiver made from folding a flat piece of sheet steel together and making the required cuts. Super simple tech. A guy even famously made an AK from a shovel once.
How do you regulate that?
Even ARs begin life as a plain block of aluminum that doesn’t need that many steps to mill out to a receiver– a process that is in the public domain.
Do you ban blocks of aluminum? Only transfer said blocks after a background check? A couple years ago, a fellow with a simple sand forge melted down 265 coke cans to make an AR receiver then built a functional rifle from it.
Then there are guns like the STEN and the like, for which a myriad of plans and parts kits are floating around, which were specifically designed to be made DIY-style with commonly available parts and simple hand tools. Have you ever heard of Harbor Freight?
Finally, the biggest elephant in the room: criminals will still find a way to make guns. In England, after intense gun control was established, blank guns and starter pistols were converted to fire projectiles while a cottage industry sprouted up to make obsolete 19th-century ammo for relics that had not seen factory-loaded a cartridge produced since Victoria was on the throne. The answer? More gun control on Sherlock Holmes-era firearms. Sure.
Take this specimen recently picked up by the SFPD– a town without any (legal) gun stores since 2017 and in a state with an “assault weapon” ban since 1989.
Homemade with a DIY frame, this Glock-pattern 9mm also has a selector switch on the back of the slide to make it full auto. Now such switches have been illegal without a tax stamp since 1934 and banned from new consumer production since 1986, but here one is, just floating around the Bay Area. Guess making something illegal doesn’t magically mean it will vanish and that no one would break the law to make one.
You just can’t really regulate this stuff and expect it to have an effect on crime.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk, stepping down off my soapbox. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.