Progressives Are Clutching Their 3D-Printed Pearls

It’s perfectly legal to manufacture your own firearm. However, it’s illegal to sell such a gun to anyone else without first obtaining a manufacturer’s license from the ATF. And since 1968, any gun that’s manufactured for sale must have a serial number. And since the plastic gun nonsense of ’80s (over those evil Glocks like the ones now carried by the FBI), it’s been illegal to manufacture and sell a gun that won’t set off a properly calibrated security metal detector. We’re talking serious felony time for breaking these laws

It doesn’t take much google-fu to learn those facts, but facts are inconvenient. They can get in the way of a good rant, one like the op-ed from the San Francisco Chronicle containing these lines:

Homemade firearms aren’t new, but a basement gunmaker generally isn’t allowed to sell such weapons. With unmarked, self-made plastic weapons, that limitation won’t exist at all.

Uh, no.

As noted above, any unlicensed “manufacturer” commits a felony by selling any firearm regardless of how it was made.

No new laws further abridging the First and Second Amendments would be effective. The technology of 3D printing and the availability of inexpensive computer-controlled machine tools aren’t going to go away. The CAD files for many existing firearm designs are already in circulation on the Internet on servers beyond the reach of the American legal system. The battle has already been decided, and free speech and technical innovation have won.

Crazy People Are Dangerous™

That headline belongs to my friend, co-defendant, and co-podcaster Stacy McCain. I’m just borrowing it for this post.

Jarrod Ramos, the shooter at the Annapolis Capital Gazette, has apparently had some sort of feud going with the newspaper for several years, feud triggered by the paper’s truthful reporting of the facts of a previous harassment case. The shooter’s attempt at lawfare failed when a judge threw out his defamation suit. CBS News reports:

In July 2012, Ramos filed suit against Capital Gazette for defamation, according to the 2015 court filing. The complaint was just four paragraphs long, but Ramos filed a longer 22-page claim several months later.

In 2012, a judge dismissed the lawsuit on the basis that “there is absolutely not one piece of evidence, or an assertion by you that the statement [in the article] was false.”

“I think people who are the subject of newspaper articles, whoever they may be, feel that there is a requirement that they be placed in the best light, or they have an opportunity to have the story reported to their satisfaction, or have the opportunity to have however much input they believe is appropriate,” Judge Maureen M. Lamasney said when dismissing the case. “But that’s simply not true. There is nothing in those complaints that prove that anything that was published about you is, in fact, false.”

The Truth was a complete defense in court, but apparently not effective against a crazy person who would continue to hound the paper for years on Twitter. I will be interested to see what measures the Capital Gazette (and its parent the Baltimore Sun) take to improve the safety and security of their offices and employees.

UPDATE—Stacy has more to say about this at The Other McCain.

Business News with a Second Amendment Angle

Spangler Candy Co. has made the winning bid ($18.83 million) for New England Confectionary Co., saving the bankrupt maker of Necco wafers.

Necco wafers make excellent reactive targets for training with BB guns, and I’ve used them when teaching youngsters to shoot. I’m pleased to know that they will still be available.

FWIW, Spangler is also the manufacturer of the brand of lollipops known as Dum Dums.

His 15 Minutes of Fame Just Ran Out

David Hogg’s usefulness as a progressive prop has not only expired, it has backfired. The NRA’s membership is spiking upward, and so are Laura Ingraham’s ratings. Now, polling is beginning to show that concern for gun rights is increasing the likelihood of increased Republican turnout for the fall elections.

Game over.

Justice Stevens v. The Bill of Rights

Retired Justice John Paul Steven’s recent op-ed calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment shouldn’t have surprised anyone. After all, it was he who wrote the dissent in Citizens United v. FEC. In that decision the majority wrote, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.” He dissented in Heller v. D.C., the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Justice Steven’s op-ed contains poor legal reasoning, but, from a Progressive’s historical perspective, correct political reasoning. If judges can’t interpret the Constitution to allow acceptable results, then Progressives will just have to amend it.

Progressives have worked to amend the Constitution when it got in their way in the past. That’s where the Sixteenth (Income Tax) and Seventeenth (Popular Vote Election of Senators) Amendments came from in the early years of the 20th Century. Some conservative commentators are reacting to calls for the repeal of various sections of the Bill of Rights by saying, “Go ahead. Try to get two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states.” Progressives will try, and they’ve been successful in the past. They were almost successful with the Equal Rights Amendment.

There’s a fight on the horizon, and it won’t only be about the Second Amendment.