Friday, February 19, 2016

California Wants to Rule Anything is a Gun

In the last couple of days, a bill in the California legislature has been reported on (H/T to Black Rifle Builders, a new link of mine, and Gun Free Zone).  Bill AB1673 essentially outlaws 80% receivers, and makes everything "readily convertible" to a firearm regulated the same as any other firearm.
This bill would expand the definition of “firearm” for those purposes and other purposes to include an unfinished frame or receiver that can be readily converted to the functional condition of a finished frame or receiver.
The problem is the definition of "readily converted" and exactly what they include in that vague sentence.  If you have the STL files to run an AR lower on your 3D printer, exactly what is the gun?  Today, once you print a complete lower, that's a firearm.  But could they make the file itself a gun?  After all, with the proper 3D printer the file is readily converted into a finished lower.  Various groups, like the US State Department, have already tried to stop the distribution of 3D Printer gun files; is this another push? 

Let's say you have a typical 80% lower but don't have a drill press or milling machine or any other tools.  Can it be "readily converted"?  Not by you, at least not right then, but buy a drill press and now it is!  On the other extreme, if you're a machinist with a good shop, a pile of any appropriate metal stock can be readily converted into a firearm.  Many different firearms, in fact.  If we refer to machinists, than any metal stock must be considered a firearm. 

Consider the poured resin AR lowers that McThag has been experimenting with.  (I think these guys are the makers).  Like the 3D printer, what comes out of the mold is already a firearm - it's a 100% lower.  But what about the mold?  You use the mold to make a firearm, but the mold itself isn't converted.  The resin becomes the firearm but it isn't readily converted to anything.  Pour it on the floor and it converts to a puddle.  It won't take the AR shape any more than any other shape without the mold.  How do they regulate this? 

As always, who gets to define these terms?  Who gets to decide? 

We all saw that video of the guy who made an AK from a shovel; does that mean shovels "can be readily converted"?  What about the sheet steel stock selection at any metal dealer?  As commenter Loess at GFZ pointed out,
Certainly brings to mind Tam’s comment about plumbing shops being full of 90% sten receivers…
To which Miguel replied:
The DIY Sten Gun.
Literally you get all the stuff at Home Depot.
The road that the California state legislature is going down ends in a couple of ugly places.  It could end with every single part that goes into a gun being serialized and tracked.  IMO, the whole reason for the "80%" gun coming into being is that gun owners have the right to fix or modify our guns.  If we wear out a barrel, we can replace it.  If we want a better trigger, we can modify (or replace) it.  The Feds don't require people who make recoil springs, for example, to serialize and track them.  At some point, though, to use their system the BATFE needed to define something as being the gun.  That's the part that gets serialized, tracked and managed.  They decided that at the 80% point, the receiver was like any other piece of metal that isn't a gun.  It's no different than any paperweight.  By California saying a component that's not usable as a firearm has to be considered one, doesn't that imply any other thing that isn't a firearm has to be considered as one?   
Alternatively, it ends with a hodgepodge of overzealous prosecutors and stupid judges deciding these questions.  A nation not of laws, because the laws are so vague they could mean anything, but of men who choose what they mean on some sort of whim.  There's already far, far too much of that.


  1. Every time I hear or read about such stupidity coming from the land of fruits & nuts, I feel duly justified in leaving for fairer climes. If Judges are the ones making these calls, they should revisit the definition of "Judge" or their oath of office; and if they are simply some bureaucrat wielding some little bit of officious "power" they need to be reminded that NO ONE ELECTED YOU! And both should get over themselves and read the Constitution and some of the writings of one Justice Antonin Scalia, defender of the Second Amendment.

  2. A few years ago a "Russian" took a bottle of Vodka, A shovel , some crude hand tools ,a welder and some used parts and made a working AK. I don't know if the video is still up. But it demonstrates how stupid laws like this are rather elegantly.---Ray

  3. Sort of like Ayn Rand warned us. They don't have enough "criminals" to rule over, so they write stupid, vague laws and ,presto! LOTS of new "criminals"!

  4. This is the problem with banning "things", instead of actions. In a creative society, people find workarounds. Then more "things" have to be banned. And then the "things" that make the "things". And then the material the "things" are made from. And then the "thing" that made the "thing" that made the "thing", all down to a point where our hands are surgically modified so they cannot hold anything other than a pen. Of course the next day, someone made a "thing" with their toes...
    And the cherry on top is the actual criminal actions like robbery, rape, murder, are committed by those who don't give a hoot about "things", or the "legality of "things",or even if they have a "thing". See, if YOU don't have a "thing", they can use some"thing" else to commit mayhem.

  5. Anonymous - you mean all THIS is gonna be banned?

    banit all, I say ... Oh, wait ...

    Phil B