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I Built This AK-47. It's Legal and Totally Untraceable (motherjones.com)
87 points by fmavituna on May 25, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 230 comments

This has been legal for a very long time, and is the cause of approximately no violence. Much as with the discussion of 3d printed firearms, it's not so much that the behaviors of gun owners and gun builders has changed as it is that the prevailing discourse in the political arena and the news is different.

The author refrains from espousing an opinion in the piece, but only just, and frankly I disagree with him. The rifles created at build parties don't cause crime. Violence in general is falling, and "gun crime" with it. Occasional, prominent tragedies are emotionally shattering, but making policy based on emotion has served us poorly for decades.

Relevant previous discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3019586

It disappoints me when magazines like MotherJones don't take the high road which would lead to more balanced coverage but their readership isn't really looking for that road.

I'm still on the fence as to whether the increased discussion is helping or not. On the one hand it opens peoples eyes to what has always been the case, and sometimes that reduces fear but sometimes it increases it.

the prevailing discourse in the political arena and the news is different.

The prevailing argument of gun advocates, at least in the US, is that "it's not our guns. it's those other, bad people's guns". It would probably help their case if they stopped arguing that owning a potentially deadly piece of gear is some universal human right not subject to regulation like, say, owning a car.

Most car owners cause approximately no deaths. All drivers need a license and insurance.

The compromise is there to be had - own whatever gun you want, but take a few steps to convince the rest of us that you can do so safely.

Your whole premise is false: keeping and bearing arms is much safer than driving cars. I can go into details as to why I believe that's the case, but to start with, whenever I walk outside the door I put my carry gun into a holster, and then never take it out until I return home. So it's just sitting there on my hip under my shirt or vest, not much of a danger to anyone as long as I keep it away from an MRI machine's strong magnet.

But the raw facts speak for themselves; off the top of my head, the latest available numbers are 33,000 or so vehicle accident fatalities per year, 600 with guns.

Lots more car owners accidently kill than gun owners, and as I've mentioned elsewhere, the proper analogy to a drivers license is a concealed carry licence, and I'd add for hunting a hunting licence, which nowadays requires proof of taking a hunter's safety course (unless you're an old guy like me and are grandfathered).

As far as "convincing" "the rest of us", we simply don't have to do that any more than I have to convince you that I can use a printing press without prior restraint, its an enumerated Constitutional right. Want to change that? The Constitution has a mechanism.

Quoting the number of gun accidents is misleading. The point of a license is to keep dangerous equipment out of the hands of people who are a danger to others or themselves. Thus you should really count murder/suicide too, and as wikipedia says, "In 2010, there were 19,392 firearm-related suicide deaths, and 11,078 firearm-related homicide deaths in the United States". So guns really are at least as dangerous as cars, probably moreso since only 1/3 of households own guns.

Since of course we know that gun ownership/access and suicide are closely correlated, and nearly gun free societies like Japan and China don't have suicide rates nearly twice ours....


And what about considering the opposite end of the stick, e.g. that firearms are used 2.25 million times per year in self-defense (which I figured some time ago was about twice as many times as they are used in criminal offense).

Above the united states in that rank (and by a LOT) is most of Europe. France, Belgium, Austria, most of Eastern Europe (and the Netherlands if you were to add "self" chosen euthanasia to suicide figures, bringing it up to over 20. Self between brackets since it's often not a choice, as medical treatments are stopped for elderly people in Holland, making euthanasia the only treatment that can offer hope to alleviate pain)

There's also Japan, just in the top10, which was claimed to have a lower suicide rate than the US because of lack of guns, in fact has a suicide rate just short of twice that of the US.

Incidentally, all muslim nations are reporting suicide rates that I just can't believe are accurate, or they're just not present at all. I know multiple stories about suicide from people in Kuwait, and I've never been (just work with consultants that have been there). Presumably they only report suicides amongst Kuwaiti, not the 80% immigrant population, and even then it seems on the low side.

There's reasons for suicide, but merely having an easy means to do it (guns) doesn't factor in at all. Looking at that list, clearly the cold is the main factor, with a close second bad economic conditions, and then we move on to lack of freedom. I wonder if you were to check suicide rates in parts of the US if this pattern would hold. Most in the poor northern states ?

Yep: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-statistics.html#death-rates (not sure if it's a good reference)

Alaska comes out on top, with only New Mexico as a southern state in the top-5.

So here's the theory from those statistics. 1) cold (maybe lack of sunlight ?) is a big cause of suicide 2) barring that, bad economic conditions 3) after that, bad government will do it

> but merely having an easy means to do it (guns) doesn't factor in at all.

The research on this is very good and very clear. Access to effective means of suicide increases rates of completed suicide. Guns are very effective means of suicide, thus access to guns increases rates of completed suicide.

You're making a mistake to compare rates of suicide among different nations. That's tricky because of the different ways suicide is reported (or not reported), but it's also not relevant.

What we really want to know is what the rate of completed suicide would be in the US with guns available and with guns not available.

Once you have that information you then decide whether it's significant enough to warrant restricting guns.

I'm trying to ignore my own strong anti-gun sentiment. My kneejerk reaction is to say "ban all guns!". My considered response is something like "increase availability of mental health treatment! Provide rapid access to crisis and home treatment options! destigmatize mental illness! Persuade men to get treatment for illness, especially mental illness! Start a discussion in the gun owning community about locking guns up, and about getting treatment for mental illness".

Your comments about treatment of elderly people in the Netherlands feels odd. Please, do you have a cite for that?

Being from The Netherlands myself, this is simply not true. Euthanasia is something that both the patient (and if the patient is no longer capable of deciding for himself, his family) and the doctor have to agree on.

Stopping treatment or prescribing drugs that will shorten the patient's life is also being done in the US, so if you want to inflate the suicide numbers, you have to do it for all.

How can a patient -aside from a coma- EVER be incapable of deciding for himself ? Yet most often family decides ... For family, what you neglect to mention is that say "no, don't euthanize" often has a very high (monthly) cost (for the home + treatment), whereas euthanasia is free. And what happens when they say no, but don't pay ? All treatment, including very basic treatment like dialysis is stopped, leading to painful deaths.

Don't they have health insurance ? Well, yes, but the Dutch government unilaterally changed the terms of national health insurance to no longer cover any treatment that isn't likely to "significantly" extend life, on average, and measured in percentage (and not for a particular patient). Of course significantly extending life is measured as a percentage, and if you're 80 ... Basic cheap treatment like dialysis is stopped at ~69 years old. And while it is true that it's unlikely to extend a patient's life by 10% from that point, stopping that treatment will be fatal in ~48 hours in some cases, and it'll be a painful death.

I think you might be arguing against something that I didn't actually say.

The operative words in "concealed carry license" and "hunting license" is "license", which was exactly my point.

The number of printing press deaths in the US, and likely worldwide is probably quite small.

A "hunting license" gives you the ability to take an animal, not to own a firearm.

And in most states (outside of the most infringing states -- my home state of NY is a great example), a Conceal Carry license is "how" you can carry a handgun on your person - and not the ability to own one.

A hunting license also gives you the ability to carry a loaded long gun in a variety of places it is otherwise illegal, due mostly to anti-poaching laws.

Now that I was unaware of. Thanks for informing me!

I had my hunting license early, so I really take it for granted.

You seem to have not noticed how printing presses, and newfangled movie projectors and radio transmitters, were instrumental in arranging the deaths of a quarter billion disarmed people by their own governments in the 20th century. You simply can't achieve that level of mass murder if you're limited to getting up on a soap box, word of mouth, etc.

Let's not be silly. Note how many of the top items on this list predate movies and radio:


The An Lushan Rebellion, for example, is thought to have possibly killed 15% of the human population of the entire planet. Hitler and Stalin couldn't dream of such levels of mass murder.

Hang on, you're now arguing the rather vague second amendment is inviolable but the first caused Hitler? Come on.

While your stats are true, people typically aren't aiming their car at someone.

People typically aren't aiming their guns at someone, either.

The statistics he listed were also for accidental deaths, in both cases.

Do you need a license or insurance to own a vehicle? Likewise do you need those to operate a vehicle on private property for private i.e. non-commercial purposes?

"All drivers need a license and insurance."

One wonders, why? At least in the case of licenses and insurance, we see folks all the time (anecdotally illegal aliens doing work, though I'm curious how well statistics actually back that supposition up) drive with neither, usually to no ill effect.

Insurance usually doesn't seem to help very much in the case of a totaled car, and mostly just seems to be a captive market for insurance providers. Drivers licenses are more for glorified identification than a seal of approval of your driving prowess--look at the highways near any major city.

And yet, here we are, with millions of firearms owned and honestly not that much death and dismemberment because of it, all without licensing and insurance.

We don't need a compromise--it's a solution in search of a problem.

The point about insurance isn't so that the driver gets a new car if they wreck it -- it's so that if they kill or injure, or damage the property of, someone else then that someone else is covered.

Driving licenses are "a seal of approval of your driving prowess" in many countries other than the United States; American drivers frequently can't drive for shit. (Sorry, but I live in the UK, with approximately half the per-capita adjusted road death/injury rate to the US, and a driving test that's notoriously hard.)

As for "not that much death and dismemberment" because of the easy availability of firearms in the US, it's noteworthy that the level in question is a couple of orders of magnitude higher than in the UK, where firearms ownership is rare and tightly licensed. I wouldn't argue for a total ban -- if nothing else, North America is full of interesting and exciting wildlife, to which many people live in close proximity -- but there's no obvious need for city dwellers to own semi-auto rifles and handguns, and requiring those who do to carry third-party insurance in case an accidental discharge ends up injuring someone is an absolute minimum.

"...and requiring those who do to carry third-party insurance in case an accidental discharge ends up injuring someone is an absolute minimum."

The thing here is that accidental discharges don't happen if you properly maintain your weapons and ammunition, and if you handle them properly.

As an example, I wouldn't store any weapons with a round chambered, wouldn't store weapons loaded, and wouldn't use any rifle or pistol rounds in an apartment for self-defense because of over-penetration concerns. The case where you have an accidental discharge and it hurts someone or something is entirely preventable using common sense, and so I don't believe that we should require insurance against what is honestly improper and unsafe tool usage--that burden should rest on the person who caused the accident.

As over 90% of road traffic accidents are the result of human error, I strongly disagree with your conclusion -- otherwise we wouldn't need third-party insurance for cars, either.

(On the other hand, if you're as sensible as you say, I have three words for you: no claims discount.)

The NRA apparently endorses a personal liability insurance:


Quick searching is not instructive as to pricing, but I guess some homeowners policies cover gun accidents, and such insurance is not particularly expensive.

Indeed, and you can tell from the costs what the insurance companies think are the serious risks (hint, not liability).

I'll just mention ratios, that I'm a USAA customer who's father was in the military (eyesight kept me out, but they have a special category for us because we're better risks), that I don't have very many guns, have a monitored alarm, and no longer get the no claims discount (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Joplin_tornado).

All that said, I pay 4 times as much for the extra protection needed to cover loss of my guns as I do for the liability insurance that's an enumerated part of my renter's policy, and the single instance liability they're on the hook for is 35 times greater than a total loss of my listed guns and scopes.

Well, we don't see that all the time - we see it sometimes. The only reason some people can drive with neither is because most people don't.

I don't think it's merely a solution in search of a problem because we seem to spend an enourmous amount of political energy on the topic in the way we don't on 'who gets to own a Ferrari'. Ferrari owners pay the exorbitant insurance fees for the privilege. You're a firearms enthusiast who would like to own a .303 British? More power to you. Pay up.

Actually, the higher-energy cartridges like .303 Brit and .30-06 are used even more rarely in crime than other rifle cartridges. Intermediate cartridges, which came into military favor following the second world war, allow the user to carry more ammunition per unit of weight, and to manage the recoil of the rifle more easily. It's also easier to manufacture an autoloading rifle to reliably fire a cartridge like 5.56 or 7.62x39 than one like .303 British.

Ferraris aren't very common as bank robbery getaway vehicles either. My point was that it should be possible to come up with some sort of regulatory regime that reasonably covers the entire range of uses - from personal safety to collection of exotica.

This isn't possible if one side's position is 'I get to have whatever I want, because'. You can't buy a thing that plugs into your wall socket that isn't UL certified, what exactly, is so uniquely special about firearms, of all things.

The great thing about mandatory liability insurance is that the government doesn't need to make any determination at all about how dangerous various kinds of weapons are. You think the threat of Gun Type X is overblown? Great. If that's true, market forces will ensure that the liability insurance for it is cheap.

Some of us believe that we shouldn't need to convince you of anything. There is no such thing as "pre-crime". I have the liberty to do as I please as a human being on this planet so long as it doesn't hurt you. Simply claiming that I might hurt you or someone else might hurt you with a rifle is dubious logic at best.

I have the liberty to do as I please as a human being on this planet so long as it doesn't hurt you.

No, you don't. There is such a thing as exposure to risk. Otherwise anyone would have the liberty to build a toxic waste processing plant by your back yard because, hey, that's not hurting you. Yet.

Strangely, this is not the established way of things in any actually functional society.

The beauty of liberty is I don't care what you think about me exercising it. That's kind of the point I was trying to make. That whole "give me liberty or give me death" thing really means something to some of us and we really don't care what others think. They have a name for us actually - Americans.

No, those are caricature Americans. No thinking Americans, starting with the founders, made it a point of pride of ignoring what other people think. They may have arrived at different conclusions but the notion they did so because liberty is some function of willful ignorance is idiotic.

Ah yes, ad hominem attacks. Thanks! I look forward to more intelligent discussions with you sir.

'Ad hominem' is not some sort of magical incantation you can simply call upon to protect you from 'stupid'. Argue your point.

No thanks.

I'd recommend testing your theory by taking a loaded gun out in public and pointing it at random strangers while telling them, "You're going to die!" As long as you don't actually shoot them, you've done them no harm, right?

Although apparantly not legal in California; I haven't looked at this Mother Jones stuff, but I can confirm the first two are illegal in that state (e.g. why the Hello Kitty AR-15 has such a wierd stock, and look up bullet button for #2; http://disqus.com/facebook-1392090219/):

"Do you know how many felonies you just committed? Just because you are a reporter doesn't make you immune to these multiple CA felonies:

1) Owning a semi-automatic w/ a pistol grip

2) At 1:20 you can clearly see that the magazine lock is mounted too far back, allowing the magazine to be detached without the use of a tool.

3) You perform an improper disposal of the gun and leave it for the garbage collector. By CA law, that's an illegal transfer since he didn't go through an FFL.

I hope you get shafted by those strict laws you support, idiot."

Agreed. This is politically charged linkbait.

Oh? Is it?

How would you have preferred to see this reported?

Is it just that Mother Jones published it? Is it something he said? Is it the fact that he destroyed the gun afterwards?

I'm pro-gun control and I dislike Mother Jones for their rampant editorialization in other articles. That rampant editorialization makes me distrust a lot of this piece: not the facts, but the characterizations of the other "build partigoers" as red-state pastiches (the idea that someone genuinely said "Johnny Law" is a tough pill to swallow), as well as the "Target Demographics" section having no relevance to the article whatsoever besides the fact that both concern firearms.

There's also zero context of how the author got to the build party, etc. From a pure interest standpoint (as opposed to a political one), I wish he would have included that.

> How would you have preferred to see this reported?

What "this"? That somebody built a rifle from a kit is not exactly newsworthy.

I had no clue that it was legal to build an AK-47 from a kit. I doubt I'm alone.

Sure, but you don't know about that because you're not interested in guns. Like, how many people know you can legally build and fly an RC drone from a kit? Or that you can legally build and drive a car from a kit? There are enthusiasts, and there's everyone else. The things you don't know may be interesting to you, but that doesn't make them news.

But, sure, you could see a piece in Vanity Fair about my trip across the country in my hand-build automobile, why not. What we have here is this article coming out in the midst of a huge argument about how to reduce traffic fatalities, noting especially how there is absolutely no oversight over hand-assembled vehicles. (Okay, those have to pass inspection, but leave that aside.) Where hand-assembled vehicles account for roughly no traffic fatalities. Surely you can see how that article in that context is rather disingenuous, to put it charitably.

Are you proposing that "news" should only count if it's something that a person who already follows the field closely wouldn't know? Is "news" only current events, and not reporting on old facts that are not well known?

My thoughts on this article are roughly equivalent to my thoughts on my hypothetical Vanity Fair piece, which I think I made clear. Since your questions don't seem to relate to that hypothetical, I don't have much to add.

I guess I passed that over because I couldn't see the point to your hypothetical. No, I don't see how such an article would be at all "disingenuous". What is the hypothetical supposed to illustrate? I imagine a "kit-built cars are perfectly legal to build at home with no oversight" article would be interesting to read too.

But you wouldn't consider it to have any relevance to the broader cultural problem of traffic fatalities and vehicle registration? Or you don't think others would?

Or you think that any misleading effect is regrettable, but not a reason to alter the tone of the article?

Relevance? Of course it would have relevance, as any facts on the subject would. What misleading effect are you referring to?

I think someone who didn't know a lot about the facts could easily read TFA and come away with the idea that there exists some connection between our gun violence problem and some or all of rifles, military rifles, AK-47s, kit-build rifles, bump-fire stocks, build parties, or armslist.com. But we know no such connection exists. Do you really not find that misleading?

The facts of this report should be a part of our conversation, as a great many facts should be that are not. I only worry that this article seems written to imply the opposite of its facts.

I went back to double-check the article to make sure I hadn't missed some important piece, because I didn't recall any such implication that any of this was related to gun violence. I still couldn't find anything that implied such. So no, I don't find it misleading.

I personally find the article to be very narrow and factual. It seems to go out of its way to refrain from implying much of anything, and just tells the story.

It's odd that gun advocates are coming out of the woodwork to criticize it despite that. One gets the impression that gun advocates find straight facts to be problematic.

If you disagree with this:

> I think someone who didn't know a lot about the facts could easily read TFA and come away with the idea that there exists some connection between our gun violence problem and some or all of rifles, military rifles, AK-47s, kit-build rifles, bump-fire stocks, build parties, or armslist.com.

...then we likely don't have much to discuss. I agree that the article doesn't imply much of anything, which as I've said is what I find misleading. Because it should imply that these rifles and kits and parties and people are harmless, because that's true.

My worry is that reporting about these "legal, untraceable" rifles which doesn't include a note to the effect of, "But in practice, it's just a hobby, this really isn't dangerous at all," baldly factual though it may be, will have only the effect of spreading FUD about harmless rifles, which since they also happen to be the very coolest and frankly most Second-Amendment-appropriate guns will only further radicalize gun owners and drive us further from compromise on legislation that will really save lives.

If that makes me a "gun advocate" in your eyes... Well then I'm not sure what that makes you.

Let me make sure I understand this properly. You're coming right out and saying that you object to factual, unbiased reporting because it doesn't go out of its way to make the implications that you personally feel it should, to advance your agenda?

If that's correct, then you're right, we don't have much to discuss. I cannot even remotely fathom that attitude.

He did not build an AK. He built a copy of the defanged, non-fully-autmatic, "for gun enthusiasts" version of the gun. He did not build a fully automatic machine gun. He built something that is in every way equivalent to a hunting rifle you can buy at a sporting goods store: he built a semi-automatic rifle.

Technically, the part of it that's legally considered a weapon, the receiver, is not built from a kit, it's built from scratch.

If the rest of the parts were not legal to purchase, they could be built from scratch too. A skilled craftsman can make an entire AK-47 replica in ~one day. An unskilled one following plans on the internet working from what's procurable from any hardware store and using cheap tools from the same source can make (a much shoddier one) in a few weeks.

Making guns is not hard. They are, in their basics, very simple pieces of gear, and can be built from the same materials with same tools as any other metalworking project.

In conflict zones where gun imports are successfully blocked, the locals invariably build their own. These weapons range from AK-47 replicas to zip guns [1] that make 15 minutes to make. I'd argue that for crime, the zip gun is the more practical one.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Va87gB_4AI

I know that making guns is not hard. It's not all that interesting that people are able to build guns themselves. After all, it's ancient technology, and people build far more complicated machines at home.

What's interesting to me is not that a gun can be built by an individual, but that this particular kind of gun can be built legally by an individual in the US without informing anyone.

People build their own airplanes, for example, but at the end of the day they have to get them inspected and registered before they can legally fly them. That one can build an AK-47 without any such controls, and still be completely within the law, is interesting.

How many people on Hacker News (or hell, in the US in general) do you think have built a rifle from a kit?

How many of them do you think understand what a receiver is, or what the difference is between an automatic and semi-automatic?

If you genuinely think this is information that more people should not know then say so explicitly.

There is a debate about guns going on in the US, whether you like it or not. The question is whether you want people to make informed decisions or not.

> How many people on Hacker News (or hell, in the US in general) do you think have built a rifle from a kit?

Order... hundreds of thousands? Millions, maybe? It depends how you define a kit, I guess. It's quite common to put together uppers and lowers and barrels and triggers et cetera when building a rifle, and I imagine most of those who do so understand the rules that govern it. Frankly building an AK from parts isn't a lot harder than that, you can do it with hand tools.

> How many of them do you think understand what a receiver is, or what the difference is between an automatic and semi-automatic? ... If you genuinely think this is information that more people should not know then say so explicitly.

Has this information been removed from Wikipedia? It's all public, that's the point.

> There is a debate about guns going on in the US, whether you like it or not. The question is whether you want people to make informed decisions or not.

I don't believe this will help anyone to make an informed decision (unless they want to build an AK, maybe). As has been noted elsewhere in these comments, we do not have a problem with rifle violence in the US. We just don't. It's not worth having a national discussion about.

But people on both sides want it to be about rifles, because that's where the political hay gets made. The anti-side loves to hate rifles because they're scary looking, while the pro-side loves to love them because, well, same reason. They're talking perfectly past each other, and can likely continue to do so indefinitely. But while this debate is going on, while this very article was being written to make whatever point it will be used to make, our children continue to kill themselves and each other with cheap, legal, store-bought handguns.

Let's fucking talk about that.

Well, we can quibble about this, but i'm betting you that the vast majority of people in the USA haven't put together a gun from a kit, and most of them probably don't own a gun, or if they do own a gun, probably haven't thought about modifying it.

Irrespective of who's right on that point, there is a cultural issue here. People who have not lived with/around fire arms, and who do not hunt, have essentially no reason to ever encounter a fire arm. It is, save for violent crime, just not relevant to their lives.

Expecting them to be informed about firearms kind of isn't reasonable is it? So even if the information is out there, they've had no cause, nor frame of reference for figuring out how guns work.

So, when an explainer like this pops up on how easy it is to put together a gun, it's worthwhile to point out that turning some sheets of metal into a gun is really freaking easy, and banning all guns (even if it were legal) would be from a practical standpoint really really hard.

> As has been noted elsewhere in these comments, we do not have a problem with rifle violence in the US. [...] Let's fucking talk about that.

Dude, I could not agree with you more. But despite that, having even the most basic explainer on firearms is still a good thing.

So, anyway, how do we stop handgun deaths, deliberate or accidental? :P

I can understand where you're coming from. Unfortunately, I don't think this article is the explainer you're looking for, for a lot of reasons discussed in these comments, but primarily this: he destroyed the gun.

He bought it, he built it, he fired forty rounds through it and then he found it so distasteful that he didn't want it in his life, so he destroyed it. Even after mentioning how much it might have sold for, he didn't sell it. He didn't even give it away to one of the hobbyists he met, which he would have no difficulty finding takers for.

Imagine you help someone buy and put together their first computer. Not a monster machine, but a nice solid, balanced build. Later you learn that they booted it up once, played thirty minutes of World of Warcraft, and didn't like it, so they smashed all the parts with a hammer and left it out with the trash. How does that make you feel?

To a normal person, whatever, that might be a bit of an overreaction. But an enthusiast is shocked, confused, dismayed. Why? Why did you do that? I could have taken it off your hands. I could have paid shipping.

And that's the lethal problem: The author of the article, himself, could not or did not come to an understanding of how and why it is that these hobbyists feel safe and comfortable with what they do. He didn't understand them, from the sound of it he didn't really try to, and he still doesn't.

And if he doesn't understand it himself, what can he possibly hope to teach anyone else?

I think it's interesting how people who will vehemently defend a person's right to own a gun will turn around and criticize him for destroying his own property, harming nobody in the process. Maybe I'm being uncharitable, but it strikes me as an attitude of "freedoms are great as long as the person does things I like".

I'm reminded of the recent incident in the US Southwest somewhere (Arizona?) where a city started a gun buyback program with the intention of destroying the guns, and the NRA sued them to prevent them from destroying guns that they had legally purchased from willing sellers.

The world is mad, I tell you.

Heh. It's a bit ironical, but I don't think it's really hypocritical or anything. To go back to my computer example, I can argue for your right to smash it with a hammer and still not be able to understand why you would choose to. Or take a look at the comments on gadget destruction videos some time. Or I wonder if anyone has ever tried to stop a religious institution from burning books they paid for with their own money?

To be honest, it's exactly the point I think the article missed so closely. It's different when you're an enthusiast. You see a mass-produced object worth what it will cost to haul away; I see a unique work of art, low born perhaps but with a history and a soul, with countless beautiful features and imperfections. (Mind, this isn't guns for me personally.) Yes it's yours, but it shouldn't be destroyed, that's disgraceful!

All that being said, it is unfortunate that so many of the most vocal gun advocates seem to have so little respect for people who don't like guns.

It was posted elsewhere that the gun, while legal to manufacture and possess, is illegal to transfer to another person in any way. Given that, destroying it is perfectly reasonable if he didn't feel like owning a homemade AK-47 forever.

That's a good point, but it's not completely true as stated. It is illegal to manufacture a firearm for sale or transfer without an FFL (a Federal license). However if I'm reading this[0] right it is probably not illegal to manufacture a firearm for personal use, and later sell or transfer it to another individual.

It would need to be a legal sale under CA law, meaning I guess it would need to be serialized and registered by an FFL. Mind you this is all subject to the capricious opinion of the ATF, which has pretty broad discretion over who gets to go to jail-- but even if transfer were utterly illegal, that's something hobbyists have been dealing with for decades.

All he would need to do is remove the receiver -- the folded sheet metal, the only part he "made" -- destroy that, destroying the firearm, and give away the rest as so much unregulated junk. As soon as he cut that receiver in half, he was holding a legal, untraceable nothing in the eyes of the law. Then he says he cut the parts into pieces. He really, really did not have to do that.

And what I reduce this to is-- you're right in that transferring this firearm could be a huge hassle that might lead the average person not to bother with it. So this is a journalist researching a story, and he turned down an opportunity to find out first-hand just how burdensome these regulations are on hobbyists. That's an entire missing half of this article. Why? Because it was hard? I'm not trying to question his motives, but it really seems like he didn't even try to understand.

[0] http://www.ar15.com/mobile/topic.html?b=4&f=51&t=115...

I think your example of book burning is the most interesting bit here.

Book burning used to be seriously reprehensible, because it was a potentially effective way to destroy or deny information. If you were burning Bibles in the 14th century or whatever, you were making it vastly harder for locals to find out what was in a Bible. A successful book-burning program could seriously alter the information available.

Today, though, book-burning is pointless except in some rare cases. It's definitely pointless to burn Bibles or anything else that exists in multiple copies. Yet we still find it to be reprehensible. Why?

I think part of it is just history. We remember that it used to be really awful, and we're slow to catch up.

But part of it is the symbolism. We know that it's not really destroying information or impacting anyone's access to it. But that's still the intent. By burning books, you're declaring that you want to deny people this information, even if you can't. Well, sometimes you are. Other times you're just disposing of paper and ink to no ill effect. It can be hard to tell them apart.

I think the AK-47 here is much like burning a widely available book. There are tons of AK-47s out there, so destroying one won't impact its availability in any meaningful way. It ultimately does nothing to destroy one. On the other hand, it may be symbolic, saying that you want to deny people to these guns, even if you can't. Or maybe it's just pragmatic. Hard to tell exactly which one applies here.

Statistics from 2008-2009:


Basically, <3K children per year for 2008 and 2009.

...and the estimated total child population:


Around 74 million at that time.

So, this is whitenoise from population standpoint; .004% of the population of kids.

I'm not going to suggest giving up access to pistols for the nation because of statistical outliers.

I was using "children" rhetorically here, including gang violence and adult suicides basically. Anyway, this isn't the place for the conversation.

Fair enough--my general instinct is just to start bringing up stats when something this emotionally-charged comes up. Carry on. :)

“This” was news to me. Newsworthiness is a matter of individual context.

Completely agree.

Mother Jones is a known Liberal magazine and despite the approach to not insert the authors opinion, you can clearly see the point of the article is we need to have the ability to register guns with the government.

I'm constantly shocked at how uninformed gun control advocates are.

Your post is depressing and self-defeating.

Here is Mother Jones publishing an article which gets to the heart of how difficult gun control is as a practical matter, and what is your reply?

Oh they're a "known Liberal magazine" (as if it mattered).

And you're "shocked at how uninformed gun control advocates are".

Here are your avowed Liberal gun control advocates, making the case that gun control is difficult and impractical, and what are you doing? You're chastising them. No attempt to assuage their concerns, no attempt to highlight the points that make gun control challenging. Nothing except a cultural appeal to people who already agree with you.

Way to move the discussion forward.

Really? My take-away was that home-built guns are a fascinating and mostly unknown loophole in the law that causes no real problems.

@at-fates-hands I bet you didn't know 60 people were accidentally killed by firearms yesterday. And the day before that, and the day before that. About 30 people are killed in attacks -- every day.

And another thing, why is it gun patriots never give a fig about the other rights in the Constitution, like freedom of speech, religion, and assembly? I think you guys just like to play with guns.

It takes a cold dead hand...

60 fatal gun accidents per day? Way way off. It's measured in the low hundreds per year, not around 21,000 annual.

Cars however...30,000ish accidental per year. (USA numbers)

Wrong. Do more more research.

According to the CDC[1], there were 613 deaths caused by unintended firearm injury in 2007. Are they wrong?

[1]: http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html

I'll bite

"In 2007, there were 613 fatal firearm accidents in the United States, constituting 0.5% of 123,706 fatal accidents that year" [1][2]

[1] http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp [2] http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html

In 2011 there were 851 deaths due to accidental firearm discharge, 19766 firearm suicides, and 11101 homicides by firearm. Source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_06.pdf

In Milwaukee, 76% of homicide victims had prior arrests/citations, and 90% of suspects had priors. Source: http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/cityHRC/report...


Note the year before, it was 606, which is where it's been for a while. It wasn't as high as 851 in the early 80s, when the population was nearly 1/3 lower as well as the number of guns owned.

Something is wrong with one of these two statistics. Besides the discontinuity, I seriously doubt we in the gun community wouldn't have noticed a 30% increase in the number of accidental gun fatalities.

Note, I'm not saying this preliminary 2011 number is wrong, just that I suspect something other than the real rate of accidents changed. Hmmm, there's not even any external event that would account for a 2010 to 2011 increase (i.e. the major spikes in purchasing were after Obama was first elected and after Newtown, things were back to something like "normal" in 2011 although sales just kept going up and up year to year each month).

ADDED: As those major increases in population and guns owned occurred, we worked really hard to get the accident rate down. Mandatory hunter safety courses, a general emphasis on safety in the now larger self-defense area, etc. etc. etc. The rate is still down due to the population increase, but....

31k gun deaths in 2010


On average, 33 gun homicides were committed each day for the years 2005-2010 -- WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010

Operative word: "accidental".

Deliberate murders involving guns outnumber accidental killings some 36 to 1.

Note however that accidental automotive killings outnumber deliberate willful homicides using firearms. Odd that somehow the former garners little public concern.

On average, 49 gun suicides were committed each day for the years 2005-2010 (WISQARS)

It takes a cold dead hand to earn profit from firearms in America.

I don't believe your statement about "gun patriots" is based on reality. In my experience, gun rights, freedom of speech and freedom of religion are all bound up pretty tightly. A well-armed populace is often seen as a safeguard of those other rights.

Talk is cheap. I never see gun nuts do anything promoting civil rights.

EDIT: I did once meet a militia member at a non-gun civil rights event.

I guess you don't realize that we believe the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a civil right? And in our view, no right is under greater attack than it (even after all the IRS abuse that has recently come to light)? And that therefore we're rather busy protecting it from people like you?

And we're most certainly interested in other civil rights, ranging from freedom of speech (Citizens United, McCain hates us with a passion and were were one of the groups he and Feingold aimed to silence), to the abuses of SWAT raids. Read our stuff and you'll find your opinion to be ill founded.

I only hear you talk about ONE civil right, ignoring all the others. I think conflating guns and the right to a regulated militia, in the context of ignoring all other civil rights, indicates some other motivation. A motivation not influenced by rational thought.

Start standing up for porn, flag burning, video games, and pastafarians and I might take you for some one serious about civil rights. Liberty is not about being able to do the things you like, it is much bigger.

If you do stand up for the other civil right, thanks! But I see no evidence in tone or content of this.

Where did the label "gun patriot" come from? I'm always interested with how people label themselves/others. This one is particularly interesting, to me, because I can't figure out where this comes from or why you're using it.

I'm pro-second amendment and I care very much out our liberties. In fact I believe that the same arguments made for and against the second amendment can also be made for and against the others you've mentioned.

Are those in favor of gun control also in favor of controlling speech, religion and assembly?

I own a few firearms and don't play with any of them.


If these Obama-worshippers would pause for a moment in the adoration of their "Saint", they might see that he and his administration (DoJ) are responsible for the largest power grab and human rights violation in the history of this country.

The Second Amendment is not a "suggestion" or "subject to interpretation" (aside from a constitutional amendment). It is part of the bedrock of this nation that was founded on a profound distrust of arbitrary government power, and a belief that "We The People" must keep our government small, scared, and subject to the will of the governed, not the other way around.

> ...the largest power grab and human rights violation in the history of this country.

The history of the country is a long time. Pretty sure slavery was a bigger human rights violation.

But even talking within the last hundred years, pretty sure that would be the Patriot Act along with Homeland Security, TSA, and the rest of the perma-war apparatus wielded against citizens at home.

Those freedoms are more useful on a daily basis to many more of us.

I would recommend you to read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_American_internment to know what real government power grab is.

Your point stands, but name-calling and sarcasm is just low. Really low.

And the Second Amendment was founded for two purposes -- so that this nation would be able to defend itself against an outside force that sought to destroy the U.S.'s independence, and so that this nation would be able to defend itself against an inside force that sought to destroy the U.S.'s independence, i.e. the government.

I'm constantly amazed at how few moderates and independents exist. There seems to be an intense dichotomy with regards to politics; you're either blue or red.

The indoctrination towards either party must stop.

The second amendment was not about peoples ability to overthrow government it was about states ability to overthrow the federal government. Now days people don't think much about states as independent actors but back they where giving up on soverenty and wanted some protection.

Do guns absolutely need to be lethal? If so, why? Would you (assuming you own a gun) forego all your lethal guns if someone gave you one with comparable stopping power, but which was much less lethal?


I certainly do not want to kill anyone, but my safety comes first. If my safety would not be any more in jeopardy (aka, same stopping power), I'd be fine with it. My only concern is ME living.

I'm sure most pragmatics would feel the same way.

"Set phasers to stun...."

Agreed with travisby, and in fact, we and the police are only legally allowed to use lethal force to stop, not to kill per se (internally, killing is reserved to the judiciary). We just don't have anything even on the horizon that comes close to the stopping power of firearms without also bringing its own dangers to life. In fact, pretty much all of those instruments of force are called "less lethal" to underline that using them might result in death, e.g. pepper spray and allergies or asthma. The very connotations of the word "force" tell you a lot.

The other gun owning members of my family wouldn't, they're all hunters first and foremost, and we don't bow hunt in part because we don't consider that humane. There's also issues with wildlife pretty much every place we live.

What? How is this not a disgrace? This article means that practically anyone anywhere in the US can have an AK-47 with no licensing. How is that supposed to make me feel safe? What if I sneak into my GF's house and her dad tries me right then and there, and decides that the punishment for fucking his daughter is death. Oh, and what do you know? He has an AK-47 for it so all my hopes of running away are dashed. People shouldn't have the power to kill other people so easily - not unless they're the police or army.

"People shouldn't have the power to kill other people so easily - not unless they're the police or army."

And why should some some 18yo kid in the army have that right but not a middle aged adult? Because some other army guy yelled at him for a few weeks and gave him a uniform?

You mention a father could go crazy and kill you for sneaking in to screw his daughter, but what if you were a rapist sneaking in to rape his daughter? Might be nice to have way to defend your home in that situation. That being said, I don't believe that assault rifles should be legal though.

Not to nitpick, but "assault rifle" is a technical term for a select-fire (fully automatic) weapon that fires an underpowered rifle caliber, and any select-fire weapon is quite illegal for individuals to own in the US.

"Assault weapon" is a made up term used to try to discriminate these civilian rifles on the basis of the cosmetic features that make them seem frightening to non-gun-owners. When we talk about a semi-automatic civilian "AK-47" like this, it's really just called a rifle.

What, aside from the obvious reason? Someone in the military follows orders and serves the nation while someone with a gun will probably do whatever he/she feels with it and nothing actually useful. How is that?

More generally, at least some of us have taken note of the lessons learned from around a quarter billion disarmed people being killed by their own governments in the 20th century (and rather obviously most of that was done by the Only Ones you enshrine, the police and military with I suppose some paramilitaries in the middle).

Good luck convincing us to willingly give up another inch on this issue.

Heh, so out of the millions of policemen and militants in the world, that protect the billions out there, you found a handful that have gone bad. Sure, let's let anyone kill anyone then! Moral reasoning!

Heh, I'm < 25 yrs old and a coder at a top software company with a six figure salary. And I've only been coding for a couple of years. I give you advice, kid.

Heh, Because having a six-figure salary (at a top software company!) automatically proves your superiority in all subjects.

"...you found a handful that have gone bad."

You do realize that your point there is exactly the same that most gun-control opponents make? If we are to accept your point, you need to accept theirs.

What do you work on, out of curiosity? Maybe it's something you're actually qualified to give me advice on--I'm always up for learning. :)

You should know that, unless you have a 24/7 guard watch (and maybe not even then), if someone truly wants to kill you, there's nothing stopping them.

I mean, courts will try them afterwards, but that's no consolation to your corpse.

Yes I am aware that the parents example would probably fall under "crimes of passion". The man would still want him dead for more than long enough to make it reality.

Wow! Why have any protection against getting killed at all?! Let's just let everyone murder everyone else at will and then we'll try them afterwards! After all we can't stop them if we wanted to. Great logic!

You thought I was talking about guns there? Oh no, that was general life advice, for your safety.

The idea that you can go around getting people so angry that they want to kill you more than a few times without ill effect is silly.

The idea that someone can kill me because I got them angry is sillier. There are the police and courts and the like.

I'm not talking about what should and shouldn't be here.

I worded my last post incorrectly it seems. Let me be clearer.

When you get people angry enough, they try to kill you. This is usually the wrong thing for them to do. But people do it anyway. Police and courts have nothing to do with it. People are still very much able to kill you without a gun, and they have a decent chance of succeeding.

If you continually do things that result in people trying to kill you, the chance of you becoming a homicide statistic rapidly approaches one. If you want to dispute this, you can argue with the 506 homicides in Japan in 2009. (Where weapons are virtually nonexistent.)

In other words, please don't get yourself killed under the mistaken notion that men without guns are somehow incapable of it.

Source: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/homicide.ht...

>There are the police and courts and the like.

Constructing an argument that leans on the courts and police to protect you is entirely specious.

Contrary to the mantra that is often plastered on the side of every patrol car, the police have no duty whatsoever to protect you. And likewise, the courts or police cannot nor will not protect you from threat even if that threat is imminent and certain[1]. The only duty of our justice system is to investigate and apprehend criminals, not to protect your person or property[2][3].

1. Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)

2. DeShaney v. Winnebago Cnty. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189 (1989)

3. Leidy v. Borough of Glenolden, et al., 277 F. Supp. 2d 547, 561 (E.D. Pa. 2003)

There's no helping this one...they seem hell-bent on their own impotence and likelihood of destruction.

What if your girlfriend's dad decided to run you down in his car--again, running away is dashed. Hopefully she can find a mate who has more spine and isn't cowed so easily by the thought of other humans with possession of means of force.

Seriously, you can either live your life afraid of every damn thing, or accept that while there are dangerous devices out there the odds of ending up on the wrong side of one can be mitigated--unless, you know, you go looking for trouble.

Don't be such a scaredy-cat.

I'd like to see your brave Kratos face with an AK-47 in your face.

Every point you make is wrong:

I'd have a decent chance of getting away from a car, I wouldn't from an AK-47. A car has other legitimate uses. Guns outside of the police and hunting, don't imo.

I wouldn't say being afraid of firearms counts me as having no spine and afraid of "anything". I just think you're kinda full of crap and would cry the most if you actually had a gun in your face.

I wouldn't say guns are just a means of force. A good punch, a knife is. A gun is just an automatic KO for me. So yes, I don't think the average person should be able to have a gun - something that serves no means other than give him the ability to kill people at will.

You ever shot at something outside of a video game? Especially with an old semi-auto assault rifle? While it's running away from you? It's hardly a decided matter--try skeet shooting sometime.

Are you afraid of cars? Of lathes or mills? One misstep with those and you're going to lose a digit, more likely than not.

Weapons are tools, and you can't go through life being afraid of tools. You respect them, you treat them carefully, but you shouldn't be afraid of them.

Why is the idea of someone else being able to kill people at will so distressing to you? It shouldn't be an issue, right, if you haven't put yourself in a position to deserve it--after all, that's the position you're wishing on those who would go against the military or police.

I'm not sure what these questions have to do with anything, but no, no, and no.

Again every point adds nothing to the debate:

Guns are tools for killing. I'm pretty afraid of that, and I think so are lots/the majority of other people, so that settles that.

Because there is the police and courts for trials. I don't want to be tried by some dude with shit judgement and there - my life is over.

You really are hopeless case. The whole world laughs at the stupidity of US gun control laws and it's just agonizing debating with someone on the other side. You know, the Boston bomber shouldn't have done that. He should've just assembled one of these and killed a couple hundred in the crowd, and you should be there.

The difference between a military assault rifle and a normal gun is the selective fire which allows automatic fire and semi-automatic. In the military, the type of firing that does almost all the killing is semi-automatic, just like a consumer gun. There's really nothing special about an AK-47.

This is fear in action, your whole post. Use logic, not fear.

I scanned through the video included in the link. At the risk of sounding like a militia-bound gun nut, the video got me a bit annoyed: "fully functional AK-47" is tossed about rather often, when in fact the guy simply made a rather heavy hunting rifle.

An AK-47, as used throughout the planet, is a machine gun. A fully-automatic machine gun. You hold down the trigger, and the gun begins firing at a high rate until you remove your finger from the trigger, or run out of ammunition.

He did not build that.

He built a semi-automatic rifle that is functionally equivalent in pretty much every way to a hunting rifle you can buy at your local sporting goods chain store.

This harkens back to the "assault rifle" issue, which sees a type of rifle that is in every way equivalent to a semi-automatic hunting rifle labeled as an "assault rifle" because it looks more bad-ass than grandpa's deer rifle.


I'm kind of ruefully laughing at myself here, as after three years of reading Hacker News, this is the topic that got me to angrily dive to my keyboard to make an account and comment. This from a total urbanite who gets nervous at being more than three blocks from a taxi stand and a wet bar, and who would probably need counseling if confronted by any woodland creature larger than a mid-sized rat.

A gun with a limited internal magazine is materially different than a clip ready design though.

In the U.S., the legal use of assault rifle has not been particularly confused (it's always meant guns with automatic fire capability), just the sloppy and/or misconstrued use of the term in media and advocacy.

Edit: Second paragraph is wrong, see link down thread.

Hunting rifles with magazines are quite common. However, you do zero in on the effective difference between supposed "assault rifles" and semi-automatic hunting rifles: the magazine / number of rounds available.

I think this is an important point, because when you cut through the furor, that really is the only effective distinction. And it's a heck of a lot more minor a distinction than the more common blending of "fully automatic machine gun" with a semi-auto rifle that merely looks bad ass, is covered with Tactical Stuff (TM), and uses a composite stock instead of wood.

I guess it depends on whether a person thinks that the political process around gun control will result from rhetoric or from honest debate. If it's an honest debate, the exact words used to describe the eventual line that gets drawn shouldn't really matter. A semi automatic rifle with a few 10 round magazines is plenty scary enough when used for violence.

Also, when I looked up the number for post ban magazines, I realized that I was wrong about assault weapons and full automatic. Wikipedia has a summary of the federal ban:


I agree that an honest debate on the topic is what can lead to a reasonable and valuable process of dealing with the issue in terms of law. And it's because of that that the term "assault rifle" has always bugged me, because, let me be quite honest, I've come to realize that what so many people mean when they say that term is really "anything that looks scary and mean and military-ish".

IE, show them this: http://i.imgur.com/XZmPlGQ.jpg, and the response will be "Yeah! Ban that! Nobody should be able to own that!"

Show them this: http://i.imgur.com/a916R.jpg, however, and the response will be much more muted, perhaps with a bit of "I think my Dad had one like that for hunting or something..."

Of course they are functionally equivalent rifles, each semi-automatic. But one looks scary/bad-ass, one looks like Dad's hunting rifle.

I don't mean this all argumentatively or semantically. I think this issue really matters. If we are going to pass laws based on the outward appearance of something, then that's the kind of law - and legal process - I am very wary of. If, instead, we have an honest and reasoned debate on the issue, going through a process of deciding if, say, semi-automatic weapons should able to be owned by citizens; and if there should be a limit of the number of rounds in a magazine - or if people should be able to own a rifle that accepts a magazine; then that's the kind of process I can get on board with.

I think it's dishonest to ask a voter, "should we ban assault rifles?" I think it's much more honest to ask, in effect, a series of questions about firearms, to get at the meat of the matter in a way that is sensible.

But I don't think I'm going out on a limb here when I say that as it stands, people want to ban scary looking guns, and that is the depth to which they evaluate the entire issue.

An AK-47 does not accept "clips", it accepts magazines.

Considering that rifles are used to kill fewer people in the United States than knives, fists, hammers, or bats, Mother Jones' attempt at scaring people about those who build their own guns rings a little hallow. But I get it, AK-47s look scary and so we should all be outraged.


Here's a summary of the 2011 data from the linked statistics:

  8,583 - Homicides by firearms (all types)
    323 - Homicides by rifles
  1,694 - Homicides by sharp objects (knives, etc)
    496 - Homicides by blunt objects (clubs, etc)

The full table for firearms (2011) is:

  Handguns                      6220
  Rifles                         323
  Shotguns                       356
  Other guns                      97
  Firearms, type not stated     1587
So, er, yeah. GP is correct in their statement that rifles (indeed, it would seem, all longarms) are less favored for homicide than sharp and blunt objects.

Not really, type not stated just means unknown some of those are clearly going to be Rifles. If 200 of those where Rifles then it would be more popular than blunt objects.

But with 1.5 orders of magnitude difference in the officially known enumerated types we can be pretty sure the officially unknowns don't wildly vary from knowns. Plus the number of rifles used is so small people who track of this sort of thing would likely have an idea if something weird was happening.

My only caveat is bodies found without a recovered bullet; almost all centerfire rifles have greater energies and sectional densities than normally used handguns, so the bullet is more likely to exit. To get a handle on this we'd need breakdowns on where they happened (e.g. city, almost certainly a handgun, rural, a rifle is more likely, if only because of concealment issues). Or talk to coroners, the wounds will be somewhat different.

You presume too much... these are the conclusions the data support--anything else is just handwaving.

Look scary? Just the media-hyped name alone is enough. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of Americans couldn't distinguish between an AK-47 and a Glock by sight alone. (I'd concede that it may not be a majority, but at least a surprisingly large number.)

AK-47s scare me about as much as any other gun.

It's "good" that rifles are used to kill fewer people than other weapons, and we should choose our battles accordingly.

That doesn't change the fact that I want to make it as hard as possible for crazy people or people on a power trip to be able to fashion machines designed to efficiently kill people like me. That seems like a simple principle.

Maybe the best way to achieve that here is to let these things stay in obscurity. Maybe not.

I want to make it as hard as possible for crazy people or people on a power trip to be able to fashion machines designed to efficiently kill people like me.

I would worry more about cars, corporations, and governments. :)

None of those were designed to efficiently kill people like me. The OP's point is that I should be worrying more about handguns, and he's right - but that doesn't mean I can't worry about other things designed to pose a threat to my person too.

As the quarter billion disarmed people killed by their own governments in the 20th century, plus all the combatants killed in two "World Wars" and many many others show, there is no single better instrumentality for "efficiently" killing people than governments. In more than a few cases, and most of the deaths, this is by design (Communists and Nazis).

It's true that some governments have killed their own citizens unjustly and en masse. I don't think that my own government poses such a threat to me. If you're a US citizen who feels like their government was designed to efficiently kill its citizens, and if you think that you can prevent that, then we probably can't have a constructive discussion.

I don't know if people just want to start a interesting conversation, or if they feel like disparaging government somehow refutes my point. I hope it's the former, because it doesn't. If you understand why I don't want people to have access to tools designed to kill people like me, but consider government to be an existential threat, it should still be pretty obvious that the list of priorities is something like 1. handguns, 2. rifles, ..., N. governments.

"I don't think that my own government poses such a threat to me."

The stakes, for you and yours, are terribly high if you're wrong, now or in the future.

Our government was explicitly designed to be "inefficient" at doing anything internally (externally the President/Executive has a much freer hand), but I do believe that we armed citizens can stop it from mass murder (I am making certain assumptions about the culture of the military and who goes into it WRT to nuclear weapons, of course). If you aren't familiar with the maxim "Amateurs discuss tactics, professionals logistics", you should check that out before seriously considering the overall issue. Or just note that all those 20th century mass murders were preceded by disarming the targets, those governments certainly thought guns made a difference.

But it's undeniable that governments are an existential threat to their peoples; if you learn nothing else from 20th century history you should learn that. And to take my country as an example (are you one of the few foreigners who has a benign view of it???), our current President launched his political career in the house of two '70s "revolutionaries" who, while fecklessly bombing and killing people, estimated that they'd have to kill around 10% of the population after they succeeded, that many would be totally resistant to reeducation.

I'm not trying to say so much about Obama above as I am about our ruling class, which celebrates such figures, rewards them with professorships in higher education instead of reading them out of polite society, or in one very special case, the man (Bill Ayers) with a big picture of him stomping on an American flag on 9/11/2001 in our preeminent "paper of record" newspaper (!!!; a singularly ill timed article in the New York Times).

We know what such people would try to do if they gained enough power, and we have throughout this nation's history made very sure they wouldn't get very far. Heck, do you believe in insurance? I didn't expect to make a big claim when it first started paying renters insurance decades ago, and even if I hadn't (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Joplin_tornado) I'd still be paying.

And, BTW, rifles are the alpha and omega here, handguns have never made much of a difference unless that's all you had and you needed them to procure better arms.

As the Apollo program, smallpox eradication, and many many others show, there is no single better instrumentality for efficiently carrying out great tasks than governments.

Government is an amplifier, nothing more.

This is bullcrap. When someone has a rifle pointed at you, you don't care what the statistics are. You know your life is in danger and much, much more so than if someone had a knife or "blunt object". How is it supposed to make me feel safe that anyone can have a rifle? I'll just trust in their goodwill and hope they won't kill me with it if I piss them off?

The question is, how likely are you to end up with a rifle pointed at you? Not very.

Note as well that, as far as I can tell, he did not build an AK-47. He built a copy of the semi-automatic version that is available to gun enthusiasts. He did not build what your average user of an AK would call an AK: a fully automatic machine gun.

Are you sure its not a semi-automatic AKM? Also I don't think any user of an AK-47 would call either a machine gun, more likely a rifle. A user of an AK-47 would probably call a RPK a machine gun though.

That makes a lot of sense -- rifles are very hard to conceal compared to handguns. I imagine if you wanted to kill someone, you'd want a weapon that's easy to conceal, easy to dispose of, and quiet. Rifles are none of those things.

Yeah, it'd be awesome if everyone knew about this so we could really drive that rifle number up and make it competitive with other kinds of guns. Think of how many people could be brandishing their own unmarked AK-47 instead of having to resort to killing people with bats! So barbaric!

I guarantee just the cost of parts for what was built in the article exceeds the budget for most guns used in crime. On top of that it's not at all concealable which makes it even less attractive for crime.

In places where you can walk down the street with a rifle and not draw attention, and the markets are flooded with kalishnakov based designs are very prevalent though, and were the market to get flooded, then they would be more common.

I don't think enough people are going to hand build these to make that the case in LA though.

Substitute "Homebuilt PC without DRM" for AK-47, pretend it was written in 2023, not 2013, and then reread the article as well as the comments at Hacker News.

I'm a European who for a long time had a hard time understanding liberal American gun laws. Then one day by chance I constructed something similar to the argument you sketch. I've looked at the (gun) issue differently ever since.

It also opened my eyes to the simple arguments "I like shooting guns" and "it's not the government's business", which I had dismissed so easily it's scary. I like to think the experience improved my ability to seriously consider opposing arguments.

Your analogy fails because a homebuilt PC without DRM is currently illegal under anti-circumvention laws.

EDIT: Obviously the problem is with circumventing the DRM - but in the context of the post I'm responding to (people home building machines with no DRM) I thought I was obvious.

Actually, it's the opposite.

Homebuilt PCs are completely legal everywhere I know. Not including any DRM-related software or hardware does not constitute a crime, as PC has no parts that are mandatory by law.

On the contrary, homebuilt firearms are illegal to create and/or possess in some jurisdictions (but completely legal in others, laws on this matter vary from country to country).

Say what? What part does my non-homebuilt computer contain that makes it legal, which a DRM-free homebuilt computer would lack, making it illegal?

Read the post I'm replying to.

"Homebuilt PC without DRM" [...] pretend it was written in 2023

The implication is that the machine is built to circumvent DRM, not just to avoid using any DRMd media. Obviously avoiding DRMd media is legal. But using something to circumvent DRM is illegal.

To directly answer your question: Licensed software and permission from rights holders.

You said "is currently", as in, such a thing is illegal right now.

There's nothing illegal about not having licensed software on your computer.


Here's the 1996 WIPO wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIPO_Copyright_Treaty)

Here's the anti circumvention article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-circumvention)

The problem is in circumventing the DRM, not just having a machine with no DRM on it. But that's the implication in a dystopian future-story where people home build machines with no DRM.

Is this supposed to be a problem? The government does not need to know about our guns, not how many we have, not what sort they are, and not where we keep them.

Actually society would be much better off if the government tracked such devices. A lot of people interested in gun culture have severe inefficiencies in their cognitive abilities. Almost all mass killings are perpetrated by individuals with severe cognitive disabilities or are on some sort of prescription psychoactive. As a prominent role of government is to protect its citizens from danger, the active tracking of mass-killing devices in the hands of these individuals should be a regular role of government.

The situation is completely analogous with automobiles. The government ensures people granted driver's licenses are cognitively capable of safe operation of their vehicle. More importantly, the government tracks vehicles to ensure just compensation for parties injured by the operation of a motor vehicle.

The only reason a similar institution has not been built for firearms is a) gun culture represents a small and decreasing minority of Americans and b) legislative capture by the munitions industry.

Wow, where to begin with biased posts like these?

>A lot of people interested in gun culture have severe inefficiencies in their cognitive abilities.

First off you start off insulting a large group of people, painting broad strokes of assumption. You've already lost the majority of all your credibility (what little you had that is) at this point.

>gun culture represents a small and decreasing minority of Americans

There are more guns in circulation and owned and in the hands of americans than there has ever been in history prior to this date. Practically all your opinions on gun control and gun ownership are false.

I'd tell you to go out and do some ACTUAL research on the subject, but judging by the fact you open your opinion insulting a vast majority of americans for no good reason at all, its falling on deaf ears.

I guess I can finish saying that for ignorant people like you, it would be best if you said nothing at all, you are embarrassing yourself.

The absolute number of guns may well be higher, but the percentage of Americans who own one is presumably far below what it was during colonial times, for instance. It is quite possible that the number of guns is rising but either a) new gun owners are not increasing as fast as the number of people or b) the number of gun owners is not increasing at all but existing owners are collecting more per capita than they used to. I don't know if that's the answer, but your argument that there are more guns than ever is a poor rebuttal to the grandparents argument that the percentage of Americans owning guns is going down.

Errr, we're wealthier, manufactured items are a lot cheaper, and it's a lot easier to keep a gun in working condition now that we're using smokeless powder and non-corrosive primers. Crime's a lot higher, I gather, so city folk have a greater need to be armed.

I don't have figures, and most of academia was delighted to celebrate a fraud who claimed very very few owned guns in colonial times (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_America) so data is probably hard to come by, but I wouldn't presume that at all.

hysterix has already covered the bias well, there there's inconvenient facts such as:

Driving or owning an automobile is not an enumerated Constitutional right.

Owning an automobile is not a highly regulated activity. An analogous comparison would be legal concealed carry .... which is highly regulated outside of Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming, and Arizona.

"The only reason...." In addition to the above is that there are a very large number of gun owners in this country, possibly a majority of the nation's households, and we vote. Politicians aren't in thrall to the manufacturers organization, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), they're scared of the gunowners organization, the National Rifle Association, which even at 5 million members is only a fraction of gun owners and serious voting gun owners.

Every year Obama has been in office Americans have bought 10 million new guns (we have good numbers on that due to taxes and regulation). Think about that....

Maybe we should use phrenology to measure their heads and see if they can handle the weapon first? I mean, since we're going to the realm of pseudo-science, might as well.

So he wears eye protection when using tools, but not when test-firing a homemade AK-47? Idiot.

Obviously you should always always always have eyes and ears on when shooting. That said, an AK is one of the easiest guns to build from a kit and the bolt and barrel are both professionally machined steel, so if it chambers a round it's probably safe to fire. The guy's not completely nuts.

To be fair, you don't know how many rounds he fired before the pic was taken.

The picture caption is "Firing my new AK. The rifles are popular because they work—every time." ... and his finger is on the trigger, which you're trained never to do unless you're prepared to fire ... so are you assuming he put his glasses on after he raised it into the firing position, and put his finger on the trigger?

One more reason why guns laws won't do anything without more information on what exactly they hope to achieve by passing them.

I personally enjoy living in a city that bans knives and guns. I find it comforting to know that it's not likely for someone I pass to have a gun. I also can't go a single day without passing a dozen cops. However, there is plenty of data telling us there isn't enough data to make arguments one way or another about gun laws - no consistent, comprehensive studies exist that clearly point to legalizing or banning guns that will make an impact in either direction. I believe in funding studies that can give us an answer to that very problem.

What city do you live in? I thought Chicago was the toughest city for knife laws and a blade under 2 inches is still legal there. Who took Chicago's crown?


I did a little research and it seems that Pell City, Alabama has taken Chicago's crown:

  Sec. 13-25. - Weapons — Carrying off of one's premises.

  It shall be unlawful for any person to carry off of his premises any knife or
  instrument of like kind or pistol within the city; provided, on the trial for
  such offense the defendant may give in evidence that at the time of carrying
  such weapon or pistol he had good reason to apprehend and attack, which may
  be taken in mitigation of the offense by the judge in trying him; provided
  further, this section shall not apply to persons who are permitted to carry
  such weapons by the laws of the state.

I need to go back through Alabama state law and see how they handle chefs and people that hang sheetrock. I would love to know the back story on this ordinance. As it stands this ordinance seems like an egregious restriction on commerce.

Do you live in Pell City? I would love to hear if you ever see any ramifications of this ordinance in daily life.

[1] http://library.municode.com/HTML/11417/level2/COOR_CH13OFMIP...

State preemption nullifies this law WRT to handguns, as is true in most states.

From the beginning my comment has been restricted to the regulation of knives.

> I believe in funding studies that can give us an answer to that very problem.

Sadly, the gun lobby does not believe in funding such studies. That fact alone is extremely suggestive.

No, we don't believe in funding studies by people who believe that guns are/should be "dirty, deadly and banned" (http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/02/12/why-the-cen...).

If you're neutral on the subject, you shouldn't want junk science to be funded.

A rational approach would be to find less biased ways of carrying out the research, not simply banning it.

Less biased means not just a different institution, but a different culture, the "public health" culture appears to be totally biased and has published a string of self-refuting junk science papers in the most prestigious journals like the NEJM and JAMA.

Who do you suggest?

I don't know, but given that public health is so important, fixing it would seem to be a top priority. If what you say is true, then the situation is far worse than just "some biased people use taxpayer money to criticize gun ownership", and I'm certainly not going to admire anybody who simply defunded one small portion of it to protect their pet issue while ignoring the rest.

You sound as unhappy as the fund raisers for Republican politicians have been since Newtown when I tell them I'm completely tapped out for political money this year, call me back next year....

Heh. You and I clearly have different approaches to politics. Anyone calls me asking for money gets hung up on. I never give money to politicians, because that's insane. The money would go to far better use if I give it to that homeless guy who spends it on crack cocaine.

Well, my approach to politics is in no particular order learning the issues and people, advocating for or against the former, donating money where I think it will do good, sometimes volunteering time, and of course voting. All of them have paid off enough times that I see no reason not to continue, and they hardly strike me as insane.

WRT to donations, I made 5 sets of political donations in the last year or so, and 3 of the 5 were "successful" in that the politician or cause succeeded, and in the case of the politicians they're doing exactly what I want ... aside from asking me for more money this calendar year ^_^.

Where are you finding these worthy politicians? I've never seen one who was both worth supporting and had any chance of winning. I can't tell if I'm just really picky, in a bad area, not paying attention, or what.

As for the donations, none of them are local. On the other hand, I now live in an area where the politicians are in general aligned with my positions. And then there are cases where one must absolutely be fired, and the people largely agree: https://www.google.com/search?q=rita+hunter+jasper+county

Indeed - there seems to only be two very polar groups in this discussion. Those that are adamant guns are a good thing, and those that are adamant that guns are a bad thing. I'm somewhere in the middle - I'd love to know which is really the right answer - does having a gun really make violent crime less likely? Does everyone carrying a gun make people more likely and more quickly to resort to violence to solve problems?

If you live in NYC only blades greater than 4" are banned in public places unless being transported for a legal purpose. Otherwise all knives seem to be legal to possess.

This is not true. The NYC DA has made a fuss over gravity assisted knives:


I also think there is a restriction that pertains to open carry versus concealed (even if concealed means a spyderco clipit hanging inside your pocket).

Yeah open carry of any knife is illegal which sounds like that's what they charged him with.

http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAW... seems to indicate that gravity knives are legal but perhaps there are other laws that apply. http://www.akti.org/action/new-york-city-knife-code doesn't seem to indicate any others though.

Laws concerning firearms have many parallels to laws involving reverse engineering and programming. The lawmakers are about as ill informed in both cases, and it shows in the resulting laws.

Note that it is not legal to transfer a receiver built like this to anyone else. You cannot sell or give it away, it is yours forever. You are still subject to your local laws, and cannot built a fully automatic weapon.

You can also do this with AR-15 receivers, there used to be a couple of places that would sell you an 80% aluminum casting and you would finish the machining yourself.

If you don't want to go to the trouble you can always buy a stripped lower receiver from a dealer (this is the part that carries the serial # and is considered the gun by the BATFE) and assemble the rest yourself. I wrote an article on this back in 2000 - http://www.brianlane.com/build-an-ar-15-rifle.html

Speaking of loopholes, I find it amusing that HN has found a way to post articles that are ostensibly "interesting to hackers" which allow them to get into heated mainstream political discussion.

As it turns out, people who don't want to follow the rules, will find a way to not.

Please excuse my ignorance on this matter, but why are people so concerned about "untraceable" guns (i.e. guns without serial numbers)? IF a gun is used in a crime, how important is it that there's a serial number stamped on the receiver? As opposed to, say, ballistics showing that a particular gun was used in a crime because of the rifling marks found on the bullet fragments and the firing pin indentation on the shell casing?

Sure a serial number will tell who the original purchaser of the firearm was, but that in itself does not necessarily prove that the original owner is the one who committed a crime.

Because they can side-step background checks and be resold to anyone.

Anyone who's not a criminal can buy a gun, thats the law. Background checks may prevent criminals from buying guns, but they often do not because criminals don't buy guns from legal gun dealers or other legal gun owners. They either steal them or they buy them from an illegal dealer.

The background check issue is a red herring according to the US-NIJ studies.

Well private gun sale laws vary from state to state. For instance, in Oregon private transfers of firearms are perfectly legal without background checks or going through FFL dealers. So anyone can side-step a background check in a state like Oregon by asking someone else to purchase the gun legally and then give them cash for it. Does that mean we should expect more gun violence in states like Oregon?

Background checks examine the person, not the gun!

You may not know this if you've never bought a gun at a gun store, but they call in your identifying information, they say nothing to the Federal government about the gun or guns to be bought except if they include handguns as I recall.

There are forms to be filled out that do include recording the serial number, but that came long before the national background check system (1968 vs. mid-90s).

It's not untraceable, I can see his name under the article title.

So the part that makes this guy a derp - he built what could have been a fully legal weapon, except that he didn't install the magazine lock correctly. What is a magazine lock? Its a device that lets politicians pretend that they're "doing something" when in reality it just makes them look stupid.

Mag locks serve no purpose in crime prevention because they don't have some sort of magic anti-criminal switch, they just annoy people trying to obey the law and criminals ignore the law so they don't bother.

I think they're probably more intended to keep the five year olds from shooting their sisters.

Which, like "child proof caps" on medicine, they do a very poor job of, unless you're really rigorous in not letting them see how you get your self-defense guns out of the push button safe or whatever.

Plus or minus that age you have to also start "gun proofing" them, teach them how to handle guns safely, not to do it unsupervised, avoid the lure of the forbidden fruit, etc. etc. My father started with all of us at age 3, when he'd start taking us out for the safer types of hunting (not quail, where you're moving around a lot, albeit that would have exhausted us way too quickly). Don't remember when he started explicitly teaching it, but he did it by example starting then.

Maglocks do exactly zero to prevent this. There are two things that prevent kids from shooting things/people they didn't intend to: 1. Parents 2. Training

Ignoring the issue is just bad, we figured that out a long time ago with sex education, not teaching your kids about the things you may or may not have in your house is dangerous.

Thankfully this is illegal and will remain so in most of the rest of the world.

3% means there are more than 9.4 million assault rifles in US homes. Are they expecting an invasion?

Once I had a roommate that used anti-dandruff shampoo. "But you don't have dandruff," I exclaimed. He replied, "exactly."

(that being said, foreign invasion is probably not a large motivating factor for most civilian gun owners in the US, but your question was rather silly)

Its actually not illegal... Anyone in the US is allowed to build their own firearm for personal use. They are not allowed to sell it or give it away, if they don't want it they have to destroy it.

Many are expecting either an invasion or a revolution. There's a disturbingly high rate of revolutionary fantasies among the gun crowd. I have no problem with keeping a gun for this, with the attitude of "and may we never need it", but many people seem positively gleeful when they talk about the possibility of violent armed revolution or resistance.

You mean like Thomas Jefferson? Yeah, he was pretty uppity.

Jefferson was gleeful at the thought of armed revolution? Do tell.

Okay, a quote from him:

The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & What country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure.

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William S. Smith (13 November 1787).

That's an interesting thing to consider. It's hard to judge tone across so much time, but it doesn't seem to me that he is truly gleeful at the prospect, but merely views it as necessary, or useful. It doesn't have the implied "I can't wait to grab my gun collection and fight off the ATF/FBI/police/whatever" that I've seen in other contexts. But that perception could just be colored by my preconceived notions of who Jefferson was.

The US citizenry is better armed than most nations. We collect tanks, APCs, and most other former military vehicles. I know people who own .50 cal rifles, grenade launchers, various automatic rifles, etc. violence here is more rare than you'd think, but armaments far more common.

It is? I'm surprised that the rest of the world has such developed gun policy. I understand the majority of first world nations would probably ban this but its interesting to learn that 3rd world countries have developed similar laws.

I wouldn't call it a "developed gun policy", more like "common sense". No guns = no people shot. Of course guns end up coming from other places that have no such restrictions, but the reasoning stands :)

They expect their government to fail them.

It already has, repeatedly - but that's totally orthogonal. To imply that gun owners are worried about systematic government oppression that would necessitate an uprising is not an accurate portrayal of conventional wisdom, it's a half-assed attempt at interpreting the Constitution and extrapolating gun ownership rationale. But most gun owners in the US (that I know - and I know quite a few) possess them for hunting, collecting, and sport shooting, in that order.

I know quite a few who own them for self defense / home defense, as well.

No, most gun ownership is motivated by sexual signalling. Especially as blue collar niches are ravaged by automization, immigration, and outsourcing, it is increasingly difficult to for blue collar males to establish a sense of manhood. A small minority turn to gun culture as a means of reestablishing that sense.

Extra ordinary claims require extra ordinary proof.

Could you provide at least ONE scientifically accurate source actually proving this obviously biased opinion? Can you provide even one?

Or is this just the standard liberal, pulling information out of your own ass to further your own viewpoint style of thought so common with your type and others on ycombinator.

Also your own words contradict themselves. You open your statement with, "most gun ownership is motivated by...". And then finish your statement with, "A small minority turn to...". Absolutely fascinating you couldn't even go more than a paragraph without contradicting yourself.

Firstly, please read the commenting guidelines: http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html particularly: Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say in a face to face conversation. and When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names.

Secondly, the supposed contradiction you identified is not a contradiction at all, the first quote was talking about most gun owners the second about a minority of the entire population (who, the poster was arguing, makeup the majority of gun owners). Perhaps your reply would have benefited from you taking a few seconds to allow your masculinity to recover before you started hammering the keyboard in anger.

Thirdly, 30 seconds on google scholar will find you plenty of articles about the links between masculinity and gun ownership.


Stroud, Angela. "Good Guys With Guns Hegemonic Masculinity and Concealed Handguns." Gender & Society 26.2 (2012): 216-238.

In most states in the U.S. it is legal to carry a concealed handgun in public, but little is known about why people want to do this. While the existing literature argues that guns symbolize masculinity, most research on the actual use of guns has focused on marginalized men. The issue of concealed handguns is interesting because they must remain concealed and because relatively privileged men are most likely to have a license to carry one. Using in-depth interviews with 20 men, this article explores how they draw on discourses of masculinity to explain their use of concealed handguns. These men claim that they are motivated by a desire to protect their wives and children, to compensate for lost strength as they age, and to defend themselves against people and places they perceive as dangerous, especially those involving racial/ethnic minority men. These findings suggest that part of the appeal of carrying a concealed firearm is that it allows men to identify with hegemonic masculinity through fantasies of violence and self-defense.

I didn't read the article you linked to and I'm not trying to contradict anything you've written. There are a few words in the citation that lead me to believe the article is biased or that they ended up with a particularly bad sample; indulge, hegemonic masculinity and fantasy. Also who fantasises about self-defense? I mean violence I get but how do you fantasies about self-defense?

>how do you fantasies about self-defense?

Seriously? Go visit some gun forums or any generic conservative forums. Fantasising about how some criminals "picked the wrong guy to mess with" and "weren't ready for my $massive_gun" is commonplace. It's so common that it's a well established meme: http://i.imgur.com/TJUNFCg.jpg

As for your dismissal of a scientific article just based on worlds you don't like the look of and findings you don't agree with, well I think that speaks for itself.

> "picked the wrong guy to mess with" and "weren't ready for my $massive_gun" is commonplace. It's so common that it's a well established meme: http://i.imgur.com/TJUNFCg.jpg

That's a fantasy of violence not a fantasy of self-defense.

> As for your dismissal of a scientific article just based on worlds you don't like the look of and findings you don't agree with, well I think that speaks for itself.

I'm assuming you meant words not worlds (I'm not picking on your spelling just making sure I'm haven't misunderstood what you've written). The article is behind a paywall. The citation is pretty damning and doesn't look impartial at all. These aren't words I don't; like these are words that indicate a bias and I think I made it clear that I cannot disagree with the findings because I have not read the article. I'm assuming that you have read the article because you're calling it science.

The fact that you don't see these words as a warning sign and that you've made this personal tell me something as well.

Look, I've attended a CHL course. The course was a sham, there were people that had never used a firearm before and I did not have a high regard for the intelligence of the people attending. On the other hand I know plenty of people, who do have a CHL, who are responsible, who do not look forward to having to use a firearm and who carry a firearm solely because they see it as a tool, that one day, might help in the defense of themselves or others.

Edit: > It's so common that it's a well established meme: http://i.imgur.com/TJUNFCg.jpg

The image you linked to doesn't, as far as I can tell, depict a self-defense fantasy (again what is that). You'll notice the comic is far from, "the civilian with a handgun in a chaotic shootout." Instead it's riffing on the fact that active-shooter situations are hard and the misconception that the act of self-defense will not result in injury to bystandards. Call it a fantasy of self-defense if you'd like; not a self-defense fantasy.

Taking it down a psychological path _maybe_ a bit too far to be useful, but accurate.

How do you personally define "assault rifle" ?

A rifle with a detachable magazine. Are you intent on arguing that the most used assault rifle in the world is not an assault rifle? I'm not really into this kind of word play.

Was genuinely curious. The term kind of took over in the last couple decades, but I've come to realize that it's a very vague term, with not a lot of actual agreement as to what it means. To be quite honest, I've never been quite clear what the term means.

For example, you mention the AK-47. I consider it to be a fully automatic, with selective fire, machine gun. You hold down the trigger, and the gun rapid fires until you remove your finger from the trigger, or you run out of ammunition.

Interestingly, and as far as I can tell, the author of the article did not make that. He assembled a semi-automatic-only version, based on the type that is available to gun enthusiasts. IE, not a full-auto machine gun.

But anyoo, just to be clear, you would term the following rifles to be assault rifles, correct?



Those are hunting rifles. Forget the 'assault' part or whatever, an AK47 is not something a civilian should have at home.

I think the argument is that assault rifle has become a politically charged label that is meaningless. A rifle with a detachable magazine is just a rifle.

Generally I agree that using this sort of thing to get a 'gotcha' moment out of it is a waste of time. The problem is that context doesn't help me understand what a person means when they say assualt rifle. I've had someone describe an assault rifle as anything that's specifically made to kill people.

Yes, there is some issue with untraceable weapons but the real problem with 3D guns isn't that they're untraceable, it's that they're undetectable. An attacker could use an all plastic weapon to get past metal detectors in a court house, airplane, and other secure areas.

Ammunition is still made of metal. A gun is kind of useless without the stuff that goes boom.

Are metal detectors we care about calibrated to detect ammunition and ammunition alone?

I really have no idea but I've had them pick-up my belt buckle and keys before.

Does anyone know how much these kits costs?

The piece of sheetmetal likely costs $40-50, the parts kit a couple hundred.

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