There’s a pretty crowded field of Republican candidates vying to unseat first-term senator and gun control activist Mark Kelly from his seat in Arizona later this year, but to the best of my knowledge only one of them has proudly talked about building his own guns. In a recent (and fascinating) profile by RealClearPolitics’ Philip Wegmann, venture capitalist Blake Masters spoke extensively about why he believes its fundamentally important to protect the right to build the arms you have a right to keep and bear.
Masters believes that when the Founders penned the Second Amendment they were both guaranteeing the right to own guns and anticipating that citizens would build them. “In the colonial days, you were expected to know how to not just fire your weapon, but to reload it,” he said, “and probably to fix low-level things that went wrong with it too.” If gunsmithing wasn’t in your wheelhouse, then “there were people in your community that could literally make them if you didn’t know how to do that yourself.”
Although neighborhood gunsmiths hardly exist these days, Masters believes that the principles of individual gun ownership still hold. What is alien, he said, is “this idea that everything needs to be centralized, regulated, dictated, and promulgated from Washington, D.C. That is a very modern idea.”
Technology has eclipsed even that contemporary sentiment, according to Masters. The Biden administration, he believes, is just trying to play catch up. “What they want to do is shut down hobbyists and enthusiasts like me, and ultimately, they want people not to have this capacity,” he said.
I don’t think that the current push to ban home-built, unserialized firearms is exclusively about shutting down legal gun owners, but I absolutely believe that’s who will be impacted the most by the Biden administration’s current attempt to turn the ATF into a gun control group with law enforcement powers.
Masters makes an undeniably true point about the advance of technology and the reactive nature of gun control, but he went even further in his conversation with Wegmann.
“Maybe they’re very wise in some sense, but there are also some who are pushing 80,” he said of his octogenarian potential colleagues. “That makes it all the easier to delegate to faceless bureaucrats, who on net trend left and do things like what we taught them in Rose Garden. It won’t help. It won’t actually save any lives. But it will curtail millions of Americans’ rights.”
Finally, he concluded that gun control is obsolete – “I think it’s dead politically. I think it’s dead technologically.” Despite the efforts of the president, Masters believes that the accelerating pace of innovation has forever eclipsed regulators who seek to rein in ghost guns. “Because as the stuff gets easier, anyone’s just going to be able to print a gun. And pretty soon it won’t take 30 minutes, and pretty soon it won’t be hard, and I regard that as a welcome development.”
I completely agree with Masters when he talks about technology making gun control obsolete, though that doesn’t automatically mean the end of the gun control debate. After all, Prohibition remained in effect for years after it had become abundantly clear that there was a whole industry devoted to illicitly producing alcohol, and the gun control lobby is simply too well-funded and ideologically committed to the goal of criminalizing our Second Amendment rights to let a little thing like reality stand in their way.
Anti-gun activists will never be able to get rid of the hundreds of millions of lawfully-owned firearms in this country, but they’ll be content with making ownership against the law. They’re also willing to go after whatever guns they can rather than try to obliterate the right to keep and bear arms in one fell swoop. They tried (and mostly failed) to ban handguns in the 1970s and early 1980s before switching their focus to “assault weapons,” and now “ghost guns” have emerged as their latest target. It might not be hard to to make your own gun, but that doesn’t mean it will be legal either.
Be sure to check out Wegmann’s entire article about Masters, which also features some discussion about the candidate’s own homemade guns. It’s clear that Masters isn’t just repeating campaign-crafted talking points and has actually given quite a bit of thought to our Second Amendment rights, which is a refreshing contrast to some of the other Republicans hoping to win a Senate seat later this year.