Unsurprisingly, given the politically polarized nature of gun ownership in this country (although that is changing) the Biden administration sees an opportunity to please supporters and sting opponents by tightening rules that allow for home-constructed firearms free of bureaucratic impediments. Specifically, 80 percent receivers and anything that can “readily be converted” to shoot according to extremely subjective criteria may soon be regulated as firearms.
But even vague rules have limits. The proposed revisions allow that an object must be “clearly identifiable as an unfinished component part of a weapon” to be subject to regulation and that “frame or receiver molds that can accept metal or polymer, unformed blocks of metal, and other articles only in a primordial state would not—without more—be considered a ‘partially complete’ frame or receiver.”
It’s easy to envision an expanded market for jigs and tools that help hobbyists transform bricks of aluminum and polymer into finished receivers. And let’s not forget that my great uncle made rifles long before you could buy 80 percent receivers on the internet.
My son eagerly anticipates the answer he’ll offer to the inevitable “what did you do this summer?” questions at school. As for me, I’m more prepared than ever to rebut control freaks’ demands for tighter restrictions on everything. “Doesn’t matter. We’ll build our own.”
— J.D. Tuccille in Building Your Own Rifle Is the Perfect Family Project