What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

images“Rockaway Township – A Superior Court judge today ruled a blind gun hobbyist from Rockaway Township who accidentally shot himself while cleaning a weapon may keep his collection. Judge Thomas Manahan, sitting in Morristown, ruled that Steven Hopler may keep the six handguns he still has in his home, but he must store them in a safe pending an evaluation of his alcohol use.” [nj.com]


Gun collecting and shooting has to be one of the three worst hobbies for the blind, along with race driving and scuba diving [keep your hands off the reef].

Silly me – this blind gun-nut story is from 2010. I meant to post this recent blind gun-nut story from Gothamist.

OK. Just wondering. Now that you can print a pistol using a 3D printer. Does that mean the ass (arse) has fallen out of the gun market?

And if so, what does this mean for the NRA, the firearm manufacturer’s lobby? Will they try to ban the printer-pistol? If so, does that mean they are in favour of gun control?

Will the 2nd amendment triumph over the argument that guns should only be made of metal? (ie: made by established weapons manufacutrers? )

This should be interesting. Buy shares in 3D printer companies is my advice!

@Jenny_F: when 3D printers become as common as calculators and cell phones have, there will be blood.

@Jenny_F: There is a Reagan-signed law that requires guns to contain enough metal to set off a detector. That 3-D model includes a metal slug for expressly that purpose.

Doesn’t fully answer your question, but if you get caught packing the wrong heat, there’s an extra charge to throw at you.

@blogenfreude: If he had been armed after he was arrested, he wouldn’t have been banging into walls.

@nojo: That comes from all the mid-80s hysteria over “undetectable plastic guns.” The then-current myth was that the polymer-framed Glock could pass through metal detectors.


The grip and frame on a Glock, such as my 9mm Glock 19, is plastic, true. But the rail for the slide, barrel and slide are all metal, which not only would be spotted by a metal detector, but also adds mass to dampen recoil. The magazine and ammunition casings are also metal. The metal barrel has rifling to stabilize the bullet. Still, people were running around waving their arms up in the air with their hair on fire, so Something Had to Be Done.

The Glock pistol has been cited as a major manufacturing innovation that caught US gunmakers flatfooted. Add Glock’s aggressive marketing effort (steak dinners, strip clubs, huge volume discounts to agencies) and changes in law enforcement equipment away from six shot, hard to reload revolvers to semiauto pistols with high magazine capacity (15 9mm rounds in the Glock 17 and 19) and you had a revolution on your hands.

It would not surprise me if US gunmakers were trying to use the plastic gun myth and legislation to slow Glock’s market penetration. I think that Glock had had as much as 60 percent of the law enforcement market, although Smith & Wesson is beginning to make some inroads now with their new M&P line in the bigger .40 cal. (S&W was in bad graces with Real Gun Guys for a long time over some deal they cut with Clinton in the 90s, the details of which escape me now).

Imma tell you what. Now that they’ve found FUCKING WOLVERINES around here, I might need a gun when I go camping. Those things are scary.

@Jenny_F: You have some interesting questions but I’m too brain dead to answer.

@JNOV: I recommend the Ruger GP 100 in .357 loaded with .38s. Should take care of anything this side of a bear or Sasquatch. /back to work

@redmanlaw: I just read that they only eat carrion or small animals and bugs. I haven’t moved to the dark side just yet. ;-)

@JNOV: It would eat you if you were dead. You could then act in self-defense.

@redmanlaw: Only if I were dead and blind. Then I’d shoot it with my plastic gun.

@Jenny_F: My understanding is that the gun everyone’s all het up about right now was printed on an $8,000 printer. That’s obviously beyond the budget of hobbyists and, honestly, the criminal element everyone seems to be worried about. In addition to that, 3D printing is many things, but really robust isn’t one of them. I’d believe that you get one shot with a 3D printed barrel. Note that a zipgun made from conduit and duct tape is essentially the same thing, just about as safe, and can be scavenged from debris on the street for free.

From a technical perspective, it’s not actually very hard to make a gun, even a good, accurate, powerful gun. I have a lathe and mill in my garage which I got at Harbor Freight that would do the job. I bought them new, but for about $500, I could have had both used. Granted, using the lathe to make a gun takes more skill and know-how than downloading a 3D model and printing it on your $8k printer (or at least a very different set of skills and know-how). Even so, there are a lot of small lathes and mills out there, and lots of people already have the skills.

I’m not very excited in any direction about the 3D printed gun. It’s not a practical weapon. It’s not a revolution in 3D printing tech. It’s not anything more than a milestone on a path we’re already on, as much as every other 3D printed doo-hingus is. If a criminal wants a gun, they can get one on the black market for a few hundred bucks, or they can legitimately buy one (where “legitimate” is a fallacious but technically accurate term, of course) for less.

I’m very curious to see the NRA’s response, although I suspect they won’t really have one. This 3D printed thing doesn’t really affect the gun manufacturers, at least not at the current level of technology. When someone develops a cheap and practical 3D printer that can lay down quality steel, the question changes, but that’s still a long way off, if it’s even possible.

It appears from what I’ve seen that the plastic gun has metal barrel inserts, some say interchangeable for different calibers, and a metal firing pin. Second Amendment absolutists including the weapon developer are wetting their pants over what they see as a Rising Tide of Freedom in which the 3D printer will permit Free Citizens to overcome what they see as the tyranny of gun control laws. Of course, our guys want t0 ban them.

Meanwhile, out in the tool shed, Dude built an AK out of a shovel and a parts and barrel kit.

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