My very favorite social media meme is a picture of a car’s manual-transmission gear shift. It reads, “millennial anti-theft device.”
Wouldn’t it be weird if people who’ve never driven a stick shift tried to outlaw them? Well, that’s the anti-gun movement.
One of my favorite moments of gun-hating ignorance was when Denver U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette wrote a bill to outlaw what she called “large capacity” magazines. At a town hall meeting she was asked what would happen to all the magazines that are already out there. She said, once people shoot off the bullets and empty the magazines, they’ll be used up and thrown away.
Anyone who is working the anti-gun push against so-called “ghost guns” is pulling a DeGette (and likely can’t drive a stick shift).
First, I gotta say I love whatever public relations team came up with the frightening term “ghost gun.” It’s right up there with “assault rifle,” an insincere term designed for the media to run with and create a false narrative.
Because ghost guns are obviously the biggest problem in Denver right now, City Council wants to ban them.
And the media is doing their bidding. You’ve recently read that ghost guns have no serial numbers, therefore no background check, and are created when someone just buys all the parts of a gun and puts it together at home.
If only it were true.
You have a constitutional right to own a gun, meaning you have the right to make one. And if you do, you don’t have to put the serial number on it because you’re not Smith and Wesson. You’re not selling it to anyone. You made it for yourself.
However, if you sold or gave away that gun, you would then have to put a serial number on it and register yourself as a gun manufacturer. You’d be Smith & Wesson.
So, technically speaking, what exactly is a gun? Can’t use the “I know it when I see it” method. The law requires something non-subjective.
Like folks do with their motorcycles and sports equipment, gun enthusiasts modify their guns all the time — a different barrel, smoother trigger, better sights, superior hand grips and so on. They swap out parts all the time. Imagine needing a background check to buy a spring.
One of those components must, legally speaking, be called “the gun” so you can’t just buy all the parts and make a gun. So, the government decided the receiver (the frame) shall be labeled “the gun.”
If you want to make that one part, that frame, you might buy a hunk of polymer plastic and whittle it all the way down to make a frame.
Basically, what the ghost gun fearmongers want to do is outlaw buying any piece of polymer, or aluminum, or steel because it could be turned into a gun frame. Pure silliness.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came up with an “80% rule.” If that hunk of plastic (or aluminum or steel) is more than 80% to its way of becoming a frame, then it’s legally considered a gun.
And if someone sells it to you, you need a background check, and it needs a serial number.
Think of it as Michelangelo’s sculpture of David, but not fully sculpted. If David is less than 80% complete, it’s not David yet. It’s just marble.
If you want it to be David, you must take it home, and perfectly chip away all the unneeded marble, and not a chip more, in order to make it David. And that takes real skill to do. That’s why when I hear our president say that these ghost guns can be assembled in a half-hour, I laugh.
Joe, you might be able to still drive a stick shift, but I’ll bet all I own you can’t build a “ghost gun” in 30 minutes.
The media should be ashamed of their sloppy reporting. Or they should cop to the fact they’re working for anti-gun propaganda efforts.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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