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This Vice video report by Keegan Hamilton on so-called ghost guns and the 3D printing revolution that’s making building your own firearm increasingly accessible to more people is well worth the 30 minutes it will take you to watch it.

As part of his report, Hamilton attended the Gun Maker’s Match held in June in St. Augustine, Florida. He also printed his own GLOCK 19 frame and built a pistol to shoot in the competition (with a lot of help from Rob Pincus).

Hamilton notes that “ghost guns” are becoming a concern for law enforcement. A DOJ report claims that 24,000 of them have been recovered at crime scenes from 2016 to 2020. That probably wildly overstates the actual number of home-built firearms police have found as departments are increasingly categorizing factory firearms that have had their serial numbers obliterated as “ghost guns.”

Anyway, it seems that in the process of compiling his story (the more hoplophobic written version that emphasizes gun grabbers’ claims about “ghost guns” is here), the intrepid reporter learned a couple of things . . .

  • 3D printing is not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. It takes time, a little expertise and a fair amount of work to get to the final product. Joe Biden lied when he claimed that people are making or printing guns in 30 minutes. Even kit guns using 80% frames or lowers take time and effort to produce a finished, working firearm.
  • “No matter how the law changes, it’s probably too late to contain ‘ghost guns.’” That’s a quote from Hamilton from the video which might be more economically stated as, You Can’t Stop the Signal. The technological genie is long since out of the bottle. People can and will build their own firearms, whatever the law says they can and can’t do.

We talked to Rob Pincus to get his impression of the Vice report. He told us . . .

It’s as fair a piece as we could have hoped for. Obviously, they are going to include some of the attacks against private gun making to establish a backdrop, but the documentary clearly refutes many of the myths and miss-characterizations about “ghost guns” and private gun makers.

When you have the ATF agent looking like he wished he was there shooting with us and clearly stating that there’s nothing inherently wrong with 3D printed guns or gun building, I’d say that’s a win for our side.

In the end, the experience of building and shooting his own handgun (and winning a trophy in the process) didn’t make Hamilton a convert. As he wrote . . .

I have no interest in owning a handgun—let alone one with “Ghost Gun” on the handle—so I decided to melt down the frame and return the gun to its original form: molten plastic.

Fair enough. That’s his prerogative. As he said in the video just before setting his 3D printed frame alight, “Let’s make one fewer gun right now.”

Don’t worry. There are plenty more where that came from.

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