Calls for Gun Control Are Calls to Erase Human Ingenuity

AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

Gun control is a lost cause.

I get why anti-gunners want what they want. Yes, many want us to be more controllable, but many others just want the violence to stop. Both groups believe that if we restrict guns, we can achieve that.

Yet the era of the 3D printer is upon us. The ability to churn out guns in your own home is real and many designs don't even need the parts so commonly associated with "ghost guns."

Even still, lawmakers started trying to ban these 3D-printed guns right from the start, never accepting the absolute futility of banning people from making something that they can easily make without anyone ever knowing.

And then we've got the full-auto switches. I mentioned the growing issue with those, which can also be 3D printed. Again, people want to take legislative action.

Yet, at some point, the issue isn't that which is new. All of it is built upon previous knowledge, and ultimately, for gun control to actually control guns, you have to somehow obliterate that knowledge.

There are many reasons for there not to be laws about manufacture and possession of little bits of plastic or metal that might be used to make automatic weapons, starting with the fact that ownership of weapons is a sacred human right, followed by the fact that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says any such laws are void, with the fact that such laws do not work and can never work in a distant third place.

At the moment, though, I’d like to focus on a fourth reason that’s as utilitarian as the third.

“Those who would outlaw weapons,” the late L. Neil Smith wrote, “must first outlaw the knowledge of weapons. And those who would outlaw the knowledge of weapons must outlaw knowledge itself.”

Specifically, knowledge of things like engineering, machining and chemistry. Guns are, at this point, simple examples of those arts and sciences. While it’s been improved in various ways over time, the “machine gun” has been around since 1884.  There’s no way to get rid of it without making everyone on the planet much poorer because even amateur engineers, machinists and chemists would all have to be killed, no new ones trained and all texts related to those fields consigned to fire.

Nor are guns the only practical application of Smith’s maxim.

Author Thomas Knapp isn't wrong, but we're going to focus on guns.

Now, many gun control advocates would argue that they're not interested in banning guns. That's probably true. After all, even the most restrictive gun control schemes usually have some way for the elites to get firearms while everyone else is just left to fend for themselves.

Yet as they'll say they don't want to ban guns, they'll try to argue that there's no reason to go after these other bits of knowledge that contribute to the making of guns. They just don't think that people should be able to buy kits that let them build guns at home.

They seem unfamiliar with P.A. Luty, who in 1998 built a submachine gun with things he got from the hardware store.

That knowledge predated the easily accessed and affordable 3D printer, much less the 3D printed gun.

Knowledge exists and is easily shared thanks to the internet. That includes knowledge of how to bypass gun control laws, among other things. In order to make gun control remotely effective, you have to strip away bits of knowledge, controlling who can know certain things lest someone misuse that knowledge.

That doesn't really seem practical, though, now does it?

Yet that's ultimately what gun control advocates will have to do if they're serious about keeping guns out of the wrong hands. Even then, though, those wrong hands will still find a way to get guns. It'll just be the rest of us who are screwed.