In the northeastern part of the United States, gun control is a very popular thing. I don’t really know why that is, of course, but I can recognize that fact as well as anyone else.
So, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that a state like Delaware is gearing up to go after homebuilt firearms. You know, that thing many of us do because we like guns and we like tinkering, so of course we like tinkering with guns. Building guns is just a step up from that, of course.
Yet a bill in Delaware seeks to put an end to people doing that legally.
Lawmakers on Thursday filed a bill that would ban “ghost guns,” homemade firearms considered to be untraceable because they lack key identifying markings.
House Bill 277 would outlaw firearms that have no serial number, are “constructed in a shape or configuration such that it does not resemble a firearm,” are made “entirely of non-metal substances” or are otherwise undetectable by metal detectors.
The measure is intended to counteract the rise of 3D-printed firearms, which authorities say are dangerous because they can be built at home and made to be almost impossible to track, giving individuals prohibited from having guns another avenue to obtain weapons.
“Delaware has been at the forefront of gun control legislation, whether it’s closing the gun show and Charleston loopholes, passing red flag laws, or expanding background checks,” House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, a Bear Democrat who is the main sponsor, said in a statement.
“Sadly, individuals are constantly looking for loopholes to bypass these laws. The sale and manufacture of these so-called ghost guns is a terrifying way to bypass law enforcement, especially for people who are prohibited from possessing a firearm.”
Possessing an unfinished firearm would be a Class D felony, which carries with it a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Making a covert or untraceable gun would also be a Class D offense, while simply having such a weapon would fall under a Class E felony.
Class E felonies have a maximum of five years in prison.
So, in short, they’ll penalize you more for an unfinished gun than a finished one. That tells you something right there. In particular, it tells you that Longhurst and company aren’t really interested in making anyone safer. They’re interested in controlling things. An unfinished receiver means you’re someone who is clearly beyond their control, while a finished rifle only suggests it.
Note that, currently, it’s perfectly legal to have these guns in Delaware, but if they’re going to turn mere possession into a felony, it seems clear they won’t be putting in a grandfather clause. That’s a big problem.
However, let’s also remember that criminals don’t obey the laws. While criminals can’t buy guns from law-abiding dealers due to current gun control policies, they still buy guns aplenty. Yes, some people manufacture guns, too, for criminal acts, but only a fool would think that if they already have a 3D printer and the required files they’ll simply refrain from making guns because of the law.
While some argue that these so-called “ghost guns” are showing up at crime scenes more frequently, there’s been a complete lack of hard numbers. That’s another reason we should all be skeptical of the arguments made on these attempted bans.
My hope is that this doesn’t go anywhere. The people of Delaware deserve better from their legislators.