“Build your own gun” (or BYOG) has been with us about as long as firearms themselves. There has always been something of a cottage industry building guns. Heck, it’s how Remington and lots of others got started. The AR is essentially a BYOG platform with numerous do-it-yourself modifications and options.
The coming rage, however, is the printed gun. Buy a quality 3D printer, a couple bags of plastic beads and a blueprint (soon available online), and you’ve got yourself an authentic, plastic, made-at-home gun with no serial number. It may possibly zoom through metal detectors.
What’s not to like except that they probably will not work? At best, they hold one cartridge, and the plastic barrel aids the bullet’s ballistics either very poorly or not at all. Critics say it may be better to hold a cartridge between your thumb and forefinger and try hitting the base with a pointy rock. No self-respecting thug would carry a plastic gun built on a 3D printer. They’re geek guns — gun look-alikes for folks who have nothing more to do than play Dungeons & Dragons while living in their parents’ basement. Only a fool would carry one for self-defense, and concealed carry permit holders are not fools.
So why are legislators around the country jumping on the “ban 3D-printed guns” bandwagon?
Take Maryland, for example. Led by General Assembly majority leader Kathleen Dumais, a mob of legislators with torches and pitchforks is headed to every available media center to weep about plastic guns. At least in Maryland’s case, this is perhaps the result of a shooting at The Capital newspaper on June 28. Jarrod Ramos, who had a malicious and nutty beef with the paper (and practically everyone else, including his mental health counselors), murdered five innocent people there and wounded two others. He used a legally purchased 12-gauge shotgun. It was a miserable day, indeed, in Maryland and the U.S.
Ramos had taken the newspaper to court for defamation. It seems the paper had published the fact that he had recently pleaded guilty to criminal harassment charges. Ramos did not like that and sued. His case was essentially laughed out of court.
Ramos then began harassing newspaper staff. In 2013, the newspaper editor reached out to the Anne Arundel County Police Department about Ramos’ behavior. The police did nothing. The editor consulted attorneys about filing a restraining order against Ramos and recalled telling them, “This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us.”
After his lawsuit against the newspaper was dismissed, Ramos opened a Twitter account, which he used to attack the newspaper and taunt its owners and staff. He even sent threatening letters to newspaper attorneys, to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and to Charles Moylan, the appellate judge who had ruled against him in his defamation case.
In 2009, a former classmate had taken out peace orders (a piece of paper that is supposed to prevent contact) against Ramos and filed criminal harassment charges. In an affidavit, the harassment victim swore, “I am physically afraid of Mr. Ramos, and that he may cause me serious physical injury and/or death.”
After all of this, the newspaper installed a glass door. The police still did nothing. The newspaper did not hire security. Although the police responded to the shooting within minutes, five people were already dying.
Now, Maryland’s politicians, capitalizing on the public’s anger and frustration, are going to ban 3D-printed guns. They’re on television. They’re making headlines. They’re taking action in a state which already has some of the toughest gun laws in America. They’re stars and celebrities imitating the politicians in Chicago. I can almost see them rubbing their hands in glee as these five unlucky and innocent people died, saying, “Another chance to do nothing and look like a hero. Another chance to get my picture in the newspaper!”
Of course, it’s little more than ratings, television headlines and an opportunity to get their names in a failing newspaper enterprise. It’s a way to appear to be acting, to seem as though they were tackling the issues of the day. It’s a big lie, of course. It’s fake news.
Next, Maryland’s politicians will forbid colonies on Jupiter and will make the state a gun-free zone and a sanctuary state. Or am I being too cynical?
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