ARE AMERICANS ‘PEOPLE OF THE GUN’?
A 3-D printing company in Texas has announced that it has successfully created a process by which it can produce a fully operational metal handgun from a printout.
And both a long-time writer and his editor at a magazine catering to gun owners are out of work today because they dared to author and publish an article in the magazine inviting a discussion of reasonable gun purchasing requirements.
These are two developments in the news these days about guns and the obtaining and owning of guns — and they bring up, in the minds of many people around the world, questions about the gun culture in America.
The author of the magazine article, Dick Metcalf, had edited and written for Guns & Ammo magazine for years. But his longevity with the publication made no difference. His column in the December issue “sparked an online uproar from readers, gun bloggers, and other corners of the conservative movement,” writes David Sessions for The Daily Beast, an online news outlet.
“Metcalf’s back-page column was headlined ‘Let’s Talk About Limits,’ (PDF) and cautiously argued that gun enthusiasts should not oppose basic limits on firearm ownership,” Sessions reports. The column, Sessions goes on, “made the obvious point that all freedoms protected by the Constitution are regulated in some way, and that gun owners should stop acting as if any regulation whatsoever amounts to the ‘infringement’ mentioned in the Second Amendment.”
Gun enthusiasts did not take kindly to the comment, however. Especially when Metcalf wrote: “I don’t think requiring 16 hours of training to qualify for a concealed carry permit is infringement in and of itself. But that’s just me.”
The writer was summarily fired after the magazine received a raft of subscription cancellations and a deluge of negative commentary and boiling criticism on internet blogs and social media, including the magazine’s own Facebook page.
And Mr. Metcalf’s boss, a man named Jim Bequette who manages the editing of the entire magazine, resigned his position early (he was planning to leave in January) in an effort to quell the rising tide of hostile response from people across America.
Wrote Bequette in a statement: “I made a mistake by publishing the column. I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.” In publishing Metcalf’s column, Bequette said he was “untrue to” the “tradition” of Guns & Ammo magazine.
So it would appear that there is, among a huge swath of Americans, no room for even a discussion of any limits whatsoever on gun purchase and ownership in America. This is a land with a huge gun culture. Americans by the millions love their killing weapons.
So for them it may be good news that now a 3D-printing services company Solid Concepts has developed a sintering process (the dictionary defines that term as “making a powdered material coalesce into a solid or porous mass by heating it, usually also compressing it, and without liquefaction”) that creates a gun using powdered metals for the firearm’s material.
“The weapon’s design is based on a classic 1911 handgun and is made up of 33 different stainless steel and Inconel components, along with a carbon fiber filled nylon handgrip,” according to a report by Dara Kerr for the Internet site CNET.
Solid Concepts vice president of additive manufacturing Kent Firestone said in a statement: “We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing, And we’re doing this legally. In fact, as far as we know, we’re the only 3D Printing Service Provider with a Federal Firearms License. Now, if a qualifying customer needs a unique gun part in five days, we can deliver.”
Kerr’s report at CNET said that “The first known 3D-printed gun was made by another Texas-based outfit called Defense Distributed. The gun, called the ‘Liberator,’ is made entirely of plastic, except for a nail used as a firing pin and a six-ounce piece of steel designed solely to allow the gun to be detected by metal detectors.
“The Liberator can be instantly downloaded and anonymously printed by anyone who has access to 3D-printing technology. While the gun debuted amid much fanfare, it has since been said the firearm rarely works,” Kerr’s report went on.
The ability to print out a metal gun presumably solves that problem.
The United States is virtually the only country on Earth where a high percentage of citizens are so fixated on guns. Apparently, those enthusiasts see little or no connection between the easy availability of guns in America and the ongoing stream of heartbreaking news stories about mass killings and shocking murders involving guns making headlines every day in the nation’s media.
Mr. Sessions, in his article for The Daily Beast, quotes a man named Robert Farago of the website The Truth About Guns, who is reported to have posted a PDF of the offending Guns & Ammo column. “Anyone who says ‘I believe in the Second Amendment but—’ does not believe in the Second Amendment,” Sessions quotes Mr. Farago as writing. “They are not friends, they are not frenemies, they are enemies of The People of the Gun.”
The People of the Gun?