I have been following the rise of the “ghost gun” movement for some time. It turns out, it’s not so hard to build your own untraceable firearm. Unsurprisingly, people in states with the most restriction on the ownership of firearms are most likely to decide to build their own at home. A whole cottage industry has developed around building guns at home with CNC machines and computerized plans.
Writing at Reason last week, Mark McDaniel explained the efforts of one of the ghost gun’s biggest proponents, Cody Wilson, director of Defense Distributed, one of the industry’s biggest names. He writes:
“Gun control is not dead, gun control is undead,” explains Cody Wilson, the director of Defense Distributed. “We just keep killing it but it keeps coming back.”
Wilson, a crypto-anarchist and serial “troublemaker,” helped launch the age of the digital gun when he published files showing how to make the Liberator, a 3D-printed pistol, in 2013. It set off a panic in the media and in anti-gun political circles, and the State Department demanded Defense Distributed remove the files from their website.
But five years after the Liberator debut, the technological limitations of homemade firearms have started disappearing. The materials are cheaper and better, the machines are more precise, and the software is more advanced. Groups of hobbyist gun printers started gathering in IRC chats and internet forums, and are working together to make their own gun designs. It’s a new reality that hasn’t entirely filtered into public debates over gun control.
Read more here.