This is the ideal wall hanger. You may not like it but this is what peak performance looks like. pic.twitter.com/vtriZJQ9t6
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) November 4, 2020
It’s perfectly legal — in most states — to make your own firearms. Pistols, rifles, shotguns…as long as you’re building it for yourself and not to sell, you’re well within the law to make your own guns.
That state of affairs has never sat well with the civilian disarmament community and their helpful adjuncts in the media. They’re only too happy to apply the scary moniker “ghost gun” to any home made firearm without a serial number. And the rapid advancement of 3D printing has them positively apoplectic.
So a recent story at Wired.com plays right into their hands. The article portrays 3D printing as an easy way for prohibited people and violent insurrectionists to get their hands on machine guns.
3D-printed gun was fired more than seven years ago, the technique has loomed as a potential tool to arm individuals with lethal weapons they couldn’t otherwise legally obtain. Now criminal charges against one West Virginia man suggest that the digital gunsmithing method has been adopted by violent, anti-government domestic extremists: the Boogaloo movement.
Last week, the ATF arrested a man who’s been selling auto sears “wall hooks” to buyers, some of them allegedly Boogaloo aficionados.
A criminal complaint filed last week accuses Timothy Watson, a resident of Ranson, West Virginia, of selling more than 600 3D-printed plastic components of automatic rifles through his website, Portablewallhanger.com. The FBI says Watson attempted to disguise the devices as wall hooks for keys or coats. Remove an extraneous bracket from the “wall hooks,” and the remaining small plastic piece functions perfectly as a “drop-in auto sear,” a simple but precisely shaped rifle part that can convert a legal AR-15 into an illegal, fully automatic machine gun. Those simple components have been banned in the US—aside from rare, grandfathered-in automatic rifle registration—for more than 20 years.
It takes about 10 minutes to print out an auto sear with a 3D printer. All you need to do is download an electronic file, the “plans” for the sear. It should be noted that unless you’re an SOT, making a drop-in auto sear — 3D printed or not — is illegal. It’s a federal felony as an auto-sear is regulated as if it’s a machine gun.
[T]he files themselves are legal, after all, even if the printed part isn’t. The decentralized gun access group Deterrence Dispensed six months ago released a printable auto sear file called the Yankee Boogle, an apparent Boogaloo reference.
And if you don’t have a 3D printer, sites like Watson’s portablewallhanger.com are selling the “mask hangers” and “coat hangers.”
Of course, making an auto sear isn’t confined to 3D printing. Anyone with some basic tools can make one out of metal or plastic by applying a little easily-acquired knowledge and elbow grease. But Watson’s online business selling hundreds of “wall hooks” — some allegedly to Boog Bois — is tailor made for shrieking gun control groups.
…Watson’s alleged sales of 3D-printed gun parts, including to Boogaloo members, show not only that the domestic extremist group has been adopting its own DIY gunsmithing tricks, but also the scale of the group and its adaptability in its attempts to evade law enforcement, says George Washington University’s Jon Lewis.
“Extremist actors will always try to adapt and make use of the newest technology to continue to engage in overt acts in furtherance of domestic terrorism,” says Lewis. “What this really shows is the commercialization and the reach of this broader Boogaloo movement.”
Much like customers who bought Chinese full-auto GLOCK conversion kits, if you bought one of Watson’s “hangers,” you may be getting a knock at your door from a federal agent in the not-too-distant future.