The state of New Jersey has some pretty strict laws about homemade guns. They don’t approve of people buying kits and putting a gun together in the privacy of their own homes. The argument is that if you allow people to do it lawfully, then criminals will do so as well.
So, New Jersey passed laws to prevent just that from happening.
It hasn’t really helped. Moreover, a recent arrest illustrates why it hasn’t.
More than 23,000 doses of fentanyl, nearly 30 homemade firearms and a host of parts designed to create fully-automatic machine guns were seized in the takedown of a drug and gun trafficking network run by New Jersey members of the Latin Kings, federal authorities announced.
Nine reputed members of the ring were charged with a variety of drug and weapon offenses that include creating and selling private-made firearms (PMFs), more commonly known as “ghost guns,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said.
PMFs were actually being made on 3D printers at the moment law enforcers raided one of several locations, the U.S. attorney said on Thursday, Jan. 5.
The network, which operated largely in neighborhoods in Elizabeth and Carteret, also smuggled guns up to New Jersey from Virginia, he said.
The operation quickly drew the interest of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Sellinger said.
Working with local, county and state partners, federal agents created a super team of sorts. They pursued their targets through a variety of means, including undercover buys of both drugs and weapons.
From May to December last year, Sellinger said, they seized more than 15,000 individual doses of fentanyl, 26 guns — including 24 PMFs — and three machine-gun conversion devices, along with some cocaine.
As you can see, we have a number of reasons that gun control, particularly New Jersey’s extensive anti-gun measures, did nothing.
First, the fact that 3D printers exist is a big one. As I’ve noted before, 3D printers make any hope of gun control doing anything obsolete. Homemade guns have always been a thing, but they’ve generally been relegated to those with the necessary expertise to craft the components from raw materials.
3D printers mean anyone can craft a receiver–the part that’s officially a firearm–without any real expertise or technical know-how other than how to use the printer itself.
Yet even if that technology to easily build homemade guns didn’t exist, I suspect it wouldn’t matter. If these guys could get 23,000 doses of fentanyl. Drugs are more tightly controlled than guns, for crying out loud, and these guys could get that. Why would anyone assume that they couldn’t get guns as well?
The whole idea is insane.
Plus, we live in a world where homemade guns are easier to make than ever, which means gun control is even less likely to accomplish anything.
Yet that won’t stop New Jersey from pushing still more laws to try and restrict behavior that isn’t going to take well to restriction. It’s a lost cause and far too many people are oblivious to that fact.