Jul 26

3D Printing, Gun Building Parties Are Legal Alternatives For Enthusiasts

By Zach

Hunters and other firearms enthusiasts have been anxiously watching federal regulators’ every move when it comes to potential new gun control measures. Though Congress defeated a bill in April that would have required more extensive background checks on all firearms purchases, the debate is far from over.

The White House, in early June, said that it would sign on to a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty that would effectively undermine the sovereignty of the United States and the Second Amendment of the Constitution. But the House of Representatives unanimously voted not to fund the treaty in mid-June, while more than half of the Senate said they would vote against ratifying it. Meanwhile gun manufacturers continue to reap the benefits of the ongoing tug-of-war.

Various states, including New York and New Jersey, have since passed legislation making it more difficult to purchase firearms and higher-capacity magazines. Americans have been getting creative within the limits of the law to possess the rifles and magazines they want without government interference. There are specifically two phenomena that are becoming increasingly popular across the country.

3D Printing Of Guns

You read that correctly. 3D printers can make just about any three-dimensional object when fed the proper coordinates. Cars, shoes, dental items and jewelry are just a few of the items these printers are used for on a commercial scale. Defense Distributed is a nonprofit based in Austin, Texas, that sells printable gun components and provides free, open source information as to how individuals can print their own firearms. Cody Wilson, one of the company’s founders, has appeared on several Internet radio shows showing off his 3D-printed and fully-functional AR-15. Wilson is also the creator of the Liberator, a 3D-printed handgun that he says is simple enough for anyone with an Internet connection and a 3D printer could make themselves. Another person, who goes by the name “Have Blue” also created an AR-15 on a 3D printer with about $30 worth of materials, according to ExtremeTech.com.

It is legal to print 3D firearms and the Department of Homeland Security has conceded that there is absolutely no way to regulate such items. 3D printers can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, but one large enough to create a rifle will run you a couple thousand dollars.

Gun Building Parties

Wars and genocides are unfortunately happening all over the world all the time. When the bloodshed ends, there are thousands of AK-47s, AR-15s and other rifles left behind by the combatants. These weapons are generally gathered up, disassembled and sold as kits. And though importing automatic rifles is illegal in the USA, importing a disassembled kit is not.


Photo of a Walther P99 with a .40 S&W barrel disassembled by KurtKocaine via Wikimedia Commons

Several U.S. companies sell these kits and there is no need for a background check because it is not considered a “firearm” when it’s in pieces. Building these rifles can be difficult to the novice, so gun enthusiasts and hunters have been increasingly arranging gun-building parties all across the country. These parties are very informal and many include beers, barbecue and music. Experienced firearm handlers share expertise about how they assemble their Nosler Varmageddon AR while experts in similar areas, such as hunting, share tips on the benefits of SportDOG collars and techniques when training hunting dogs. Gene Hoffman, of the Calguns Foundation in San Francisco, told MSNBC that the parties are like “knitting” gatherings for guys.

There are no laws that prevent Americans from building their own firearms.

About the author: Zach enjoys writing about hunting and outdoor living. He’s from Wyoming and teaches hunter safety courses.


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    • Phil Buchman on August 1, 2013 at 12:06 AM
    • Reply


    *Where* do we find the kits, and *how* do we find the parties?

    • Iconic Industries on September 27, 2013 at 4:38 PM
    • Reply

    You usually need to know someone or someone who knows someone. The kits you can buy online but you will want to purchase an 80% receiver if you live in a state that has strict regulations. The receiver is what you will complete at the parties along with putting the rest of the firearm together if they offer that.

      • PJ on September 27, 2013 at 10:42 PM
      • Reply

      Thanks for the input, I figured it was one of those “who you know” scenarios.

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