As discussed yesterday, 3-D printing of firearms is not yet the biggest threat to the gun ban zealots' fantasy of a "government monopoly on force," by virtue of the fact that more capable firearms can still be more easily and cheaply made by more traditional methods. As the printing technology advances--which it will, and probably quickly--that could change, but it hasn't happened yet. Still, there's something about the idea of printing guns that just seems to frighten anti-gun politicians far out of proportion to the threat the technology poses to the forcible citizen disarmament agenda.
So, for example, Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein (a Democrat, of course--from Chicago, of course) introduced a bill on February 7 to require a federal gun manufacturer's license for anyone who prints a gun. From CBS News Chicago:
As 3-D printing technology grows more and more sophisticated, an Illinois lawmaker wants to make it illegal to use a 3-D printer to make firearms, or gun parts, unless you have a federal gun manufacturer’s license.
“A gun is a gun; it doesn’t matter if it’s built on an assembly line or in a 3-D printer. New technology has created a loophole and this plan closes it,” state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) said in a news release.
The "loophole," then, would appear to be the "people can make stuff" loophole, and this bill is a laughably futile attempt to close it--futile because, at risk of belaboring the point, people can fabricate guns in a modestly appointed workshop without this technology.
A s noted above, Silverstein's SB 3018 would apply the licensing requirement even to the making of gun parts, some of which, unlike whole guns, are probably practically made with even the 3-D printing technology in its current state.
So, our aspiring "gun manufacturer" fills out his license application form (complete with photographs and fingerprint cards), pays the $150 fee, endures the indignities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' bureaucratic process (will your "business" be located in a place that local zoning regulations permit a gun business? If not, forget it, because the BATFE will require you to submit to local law, as well), suffers interviews with BATFE officials, submits to an intrusive background check, waits the approximately 60 days the BATFE says it typically takes for an application to be processed, and now, finally, he can print himself a few magazines for his AR-15.
But wait. One especially perverse aspect of this bill is that it appears that it would actually require the aspiring gun (or gun part) "manufacturer" to sell guns (or parts), by virtue of the fact that on the license application form (the same form is used for gun dealers, manufacturers, and importers), the applicant is asked if the license will be used only for personal acquisition of guns--if so, you are not to apply, because the BATFE rules forbid issuing a license to someone not running an actual commercial operation:
19. Do You Intend to Use Your License Only to Acquire Personal
Yes _ (If yes, do not submit application.) No X
What, one cannot help but wonder, does Silverstein hope to stop with such a law? Presumably, he does not really believe that someone who wants to wreak death and carnage with a gun, but can acquire one only by exploiting the "loophole" of printing it (a very dubious scenario all by itself) will not simply print the gun in secret, just because that's now illegal. Of course not, because the bill isn't intended to thwart a single shooting. It's intended only to bolster the fantasy of government control of private firearm ownership.
The sooner everyone in government is disabused of that fantasy, the better.
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