FBI Claims "Boogaloo Boys" Have 3D-Printed Machine Gun Parts

I honestly don’t believe that I live in a world where people took most of the Boogaloo memes seriously. They were supposed to be a freaking joke with a tinge of warning mixed in. It was one of those things plenty of us laughed about and shared and went on with our lives. We may have figured the actual Boogaloo was coming, but we weren’t in a hurry for it.

Some people, though…

It really does seem that a lot of people took it seriously. Now, they’re taking steps that have the FBI more than a little concerned.

SINCE THE FIRST 3D-printed gun was fired more than seven years ago, the technique has loomed as a potential tool to arm individuals with lethal weapons they couldn’t otherwise legally obtain. Now criminal charges against one West Virginia man suggest that the digital gunsmithing method has been adopted by violent, anti-government domestic extremists: the Boogaloo movement.

criminal complaint filed last week accuses Timothy Watson, a resident of Ranson, West Virginia, of selling more than 600 3D-printed plastic components of automatic rifles through his website, Portablewallhanger.com. The FBI says Watson attempted to disguise the devices as wall hooks for keys or coats. Remove an extraneous bracket from the “wall hooks,” and the remaining small plastic piece functions perfectly as a “drop-in auto sear,” a simple but precisely shaped rifle part that can convert a legal AR-15 into an illegal, fully automatic machine gun. Those simple components have been banned in the US—aside from rare, grandfathered-in automatic rifle registration—for more than 20 years.

According to the FBI, Watson’s customers included multiple members of the Boogaloo movement, a heavily armed extremist anti-government group whose adherents have allegedly wounded and killed multiple law enforcement officials in incidents across the US. The so-called Boogaloo Boys have aimed to incite violence amidst racial justice protests like those that followed the police killing of George Floyd, reportedly in an effort to start a civil war they call the Boogaloo. The FBI alleges that one of the recipients of Watson’s 3D-printed auto sears, a California man named Steven Carrillo, is likely the same man accused of shooting members of the Santa Cruz police department and two Oakland courthouse security guards in May and June of this year, killing one guard and one police officer.

Honestly, if this is what the Boogaloo Boys are up to, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to accomplish a damn thing in any future civil war. They’re clearly too stupid to do much.

Buying a “wall hanger” that everyone can tell is really a drop-in sear is on par with the “solvent traps” I’ve seen advertised on Facebook that look suspiciously like suppressors. Anyone with half a brain knows that something like that will come to the attention of law enforcement, get raided, and then their entire customer list becomes one long document for probable cause.

Look, full-auto weapons shouldn’t be illegal. The National Firearms Act should be completely repealed and fully-automatic weapons should be on the wall of your local gun store where you can buy them and walk out with it that day.

But they’re not.

I get that people wanting to gear up for a civil war want that kind of capability, but guess what? This is what happens when you try it and are stupid.

On the flip side, though, it’s another great example of just how 3D printing has killed gun control.

Mar 04, 2021 8:00 PM ET