The night before the infamous “Saint Valentines’ Day Massacre” – in which Al Capone’s Italian mob rubbed out much of Bugs Moran’s Irish gang in Prohibition-era Chicago – the Italians spent a sleepless night assembling their Tommy Guns from parts they’d purchased around and about Chicago and its surrounding area.
And before going out to massacre innocent locals or groups of high school kids, Mexico’s loathsome narcotraficantes frequently spend days in machine shops, a patiently milling and drilling and cutting bits and pieces of metal into workable weapons.
Yeah, of course I made that up.
Criminals in America’s most crime-ridden cities – Chicago and Camden and DC and New Orleans – can get illegal firearms far easier than the law-abiding citizen can get legal ones, and there’s no assembly required.
But in the imagination of the American left’s ninny chorus in the media, criminals are real do-it-yourselfers. Because you can get “assault weapon parts” on EBay; I’m going to add some emphasis:
Yet for as little as $500, anyone with an eBay account can purchase all but one of the dozen or so necessary parts.
The only missing piece of the gun – the lower receiver –
Let’s stop right there.
If you know anything about guns, you know that “I got everything I need for an AR15 but the lower receiver” is a little like saying “I got an entire car – except the frame”.
can be bought secondhand from private sellers who post classified ads on other websites, such as Armslist.com. The receiver is the only regulated part of the gun, but there are workarounds for obtaining one, too. Partially complete receivers can be purchased privately without a background check or serial number and finished by buyers themselves, or they can be built from scratch at home to sidestep having to register the finished gun.
In other words, if a crook wants an unregistered AR15, the options are to gather a bunch of parts – a barrel, a bolt and bolt carrier, a stock, a forearm, a couple of hundred bucks worth of goodies – and then either:
- buy a complete lower receiver, which must be transferred through a Federal Firearms Licensed-dealer (with paper trail).
- buy an unfinished lower reciever and, using non-trivial skills and tools – metal drills, a metal router and a few others – finish it. And by finish it, we mean to a rather fussy level of tolerances; the AR15 is no zip gun.
- Put all the parts in their junk drawer and buy a complete, stolen AR or AK from any number of sources; stolen guns, gangs, or Eric Holder.
It might be simplistic to say that “if criminals had the skills needed to assemble a complete, shootable AR, they wouldn’t need to be criminals. But only barely.
It is, of course, the latest attempt by the US media to manufacture a gun crisis – which is easier than manufacturing the guns themselves; as a Mother Jones correspondent couldn’t very well conceal a couple years ago, back when the AK47 was still the left’s official boogeygun (again, emphasis is mine):
The hosts collect our paperwork without checking IDs. We don eye protection and gloves, and soon the garage is abuzz with the whir of grinders, cutters, and drills. Sales of receivers—which house the mechanical parts, making a gun a gun—are tightly regulated, so my kit comes with a pre-drilled flat steel platform. Legally, it’s just an American-made hunk of metal, but one bend in a vise later and, voilà, it’s a receiver, ready for trigger guards to be riveted on. Sparks fly as receiver rails to guide the bolt mechanism are cut, welded into place, and heat-treated. The front and rear trunnions, which will hold the barrel and stock, are attached to the receivers.
Well, I know there are machinists in my audience. But to the less handy among us – say, Mojo writers – it’s a non-trivial exercise. I love the illustration in the Mojo story: “Making your own receiver – the part that holds the firing mechanism – requires no background check”. Which may be true, but it also requires a non-trivial set of metalworking skills and tools.
You’re a crook. What’s easier; spending an evening with a bunch of people painstakingly assembling an AK (or the much fussier AR) from scratch, or buying one from a fellow crook in a tenth of the time?
It’s not confusing to anyone who’s not an NPR reporter.