My Life With Guns

Among most prescribed drugs in the United States, indeed in the world, are anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs. Also near the top of sales are pain killers like Hydrocodone, an opiate which dull the senses as it mitigates pain. The troubling conclusion I take from this is that anxiety, depression, and crippling pain, at least in our modern culture, have become a common part of the human experience. It appears that we spend much of our life in the company of people who are medicating themselves into a state that allows them to function.

After intense lobbying from the National Rifle Association, Illinois recently passed legislation allowing the concealed carry of handguns, making us the 50th of 50 states to allow people to carry hidden handguns in public.

A citizenry, many of whom are fighting anxiety, depression, and crippling pain, hopped up on drugs with powerful side affects, with the right to carry powerful and deadly weapons hidden on their person.

What could possibly go wrong?

As a window into human misfortune, #gunfail is hard to beat. The Twitter hashtag, used most persistently and effectively by the Daily Kos’s David Waldman, provides a depressingly clear view of the many ways Americans find to accidentally shoot themselves: cleaning guns, dropping guns, “overhandling” guns, allowing guns anywhere near children or dogs.
The power of #gunfail is found in its predictability: today or tomorrow, sure as a cartoon time bomb, there is bound to be another bang. Yet its haunting quality is not merely a matter of the sad certainty of fatal accidents stretching far into the future. It’s also about our collective past. We have been failing with guns for so long, there ought to be a way to hashtag history. If we could, a narrative would emerge of a nation that fancies itself created and sustained by guns but that, in fact, sees its people culled by them with unnerving frequency.
Most accidental gun deaths come and go with few tears beyond those shed by the next of kin. For people who merely read about them, they become either cautionary tales of innocents in the wrong place at the wrong time (what a pity!), or morality plays depicting the limitless stupidity of strangers (what a moron!). But they are often parables of a sort, and for centuries they were framed in religious terms.
The first American gunfail on record seems to have occurred not long after Governor John Winthrop dreamed of establishing a “city upon a hill” in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. By the end of the colony’s first decade, with the population of Boston growing quickly, it was a fairly common occurrence for a number of ships full of new settlers to arrive from England on any given day. When one of these vessels had trouble finding a place to anchor, a gunner would fire a shot meant to land harmlessly in the water—the colonial equivalent of air-traffic control.
Such was the case when three ships arrived from Ipswich in mid-June of 1637, with three hundred and sixty passengers. The first two ships had found their anchorages without difficulty, but the third failed to go where it was directed, and so a shot was fired to guide it to a spot near Castle Island.
Gunpowder is an unpredictable substance, however. “The powder in the touchhole being wet,” Winthrop noted in his journal, “and the ship having fresh way with wind and tide, the shot took place in the shrouds and killed a passenger.” The gunner had fired through the rigging and hit one of the hopeful new colonists—“an honest man,” Winthrop said, who had survived the ocean passage only to be shot dead upon arrival.
The colony’s gunner had fired neither musket nor flintlock nor Glock nor Bushmaster but a smoothbore cannon. Yet the death he caused marks the start of the long American tradition of accidental mayhem wrought by those weapons.
The next day, the governor and magistrates rowed out to view the body and determine how this tragedy had occurred. “Hearing all the evidence,” Winthrop wrote, they “found that he came to his death by the providence of God.”
       - from the article MELANCHOLY ACCIDENTS by PETER MANSEAU, New Yorker Magazine

When I was a kid, I assumed that pretty much everyone in the world lived the same way that I did. I imagined there was a universal kind of human upbringing and mine was the mean, median, and mode.

This is probably the way it is for most young people, not having had enough life’s experience to envision any other way of life than their own.

So here are some qualities of my childhood, which I assumed applied to everyone else, if not in the world, certainly in the United States.

I lived in a town with less than 3,000 people. There was not a single traffic light in the town, indeed, there was not a single traffic light in the entire county. I could walk a few blocks in most directions and be in the middle of pasture or corn or soybean fields. The entire downtown consisted of two blocks of buildings, with a handful of businesses. The nearest movie theater was 25 miles away down a state highway. There were no people of color. None. Our entertainment consisted of going to the drive-in diner, playing wiffle ball, and ending a day with a treat at the ice cream shop. It was a huge development when a roller skating rink opened and we could skate to recorded Hammond organ music. 

I remember hearing that Chicago had three million people. I tried to work out in my head how big that was, imagining how many streets you would drive past to go from one end of Chicago to the other. I could hop on my bike and go from one end of my town to the other in a few minutes. How long would it take to bike through the streets from one end of Chicago to the other? Fifteen minutes? Twenty minutes? My hometown was three miles from the next town. I remember driving that three miles once with my mom and trying to figure out how many streets and houses would fit in that vast distance.  Could Chicago be so big that it would have houses that would go on for three miles? I decided that would be impossible. Nothing could be that big.

We had a garden where we raised all of our vegetables, and my grandma and grandpa had apple, pear, and cherry trees, and their garden included strawberries. My dad and I would use a net called a seine to gather crayfish, crawdaddies, which he used for bait while fishing and running a trot line, a multiple hook line which we strung in the Illinois river and tended to during throughout the night when we camped on an island in the river. My dad spent much of the winter trapping muskrats, raccoons, mink, and occasionally, beaver. He would skin the animals and put their furs on stretching devices that would dry in the shed behind our house, hanging from the rafters throughout the winter.

My other grandma and grandpa lived on a farm and had a chicken coop for eggs and fresh chicken, and they raised hogs and cattle which were butchered for meat.

On any given day, the food on our table would come from the vegetable garden and the orchard, from the farm, and things my dad hunted like deer, and turkey, and squirrels, and rabbits, pheasant, quail, duck, frogs and turtle, catfish, crappie, blue gills, and perch. Everything was according to season. My dad had a secret place in the woods near the river where he gathered walnuts, another where he gathered pecans, and in the spring he gathered the greatest delicacy of all, morels, elusive mushrooms which he had an amazing ability to find where others couldn’t. He would dip them in batter, fry them, and we would put them on bread for the most delicious sandwiches in the world. In the autumn, he and my mom and grandmas would spend days canning fruits and vegetables for the winter, and my grandma stored dozens of mason jars along with root vegetables in the root cellar.

We had a lock on our front door, but we did not have a key. My entire childhood, the front door to our house was never locked a single time, even when we spent weekends camping along the river.

This, I was positive, was the way everyone lived.

Research by Northwestern University at the Koster Archeological dig a few miles from my hometown has revealed that humans have lived along the edge of the Illinois River watershed in Western Illinois for over 10,000 years. One of the main reasons is that fish, game, and forageable food stuffs were so readily available. The white settlers who came in the early 1800’s quickly realized this and pushed the natives off of the land. Several generations later my people were still harvesting the bounty of the land for their daily sustenance.  

Because so much of what we ate in our house was the result of hunting along the Illinois River watersheds, guns were a necessity. They were like hammers and saws and drills, tools to accomplish specific tasks. My dad had many guns over the years and at any given time he would have a .410 shotgun for small game, a 12 gauge for bigger game,  a .22 rifle for smaller game birds, and a .22 pistol that he took trapping. Raccoons look like really cute animals but when they are caught in a trap and are still alive they are extremely dangerous. He carried the handgun with him to quickly dispatch them and protect himself.

My entire hometown was this way. Virtually every house had guns, because of the economic necessity of putting food on the table. When I was a chid almost every parent in town had grown up in the Great Depression and had to use skills passed down the generations to survive. 

I never crossed paths with anyone who owned a gun or went hunting for any reason other than to put food on the table. Guns were tools, never objects for entertainment.

I realize now that I was living a life that had long since been left behind by most others in the United States. By the time I was born the great migration to cities had already emptied much of the countryside. In spite of my presumptions about everyone living like me, the fact was that almost no one outside of rural areas in America lived like me. 

Most people in America, during my childhood, already lived in the city and suburbs and they weren’t carrying shotguns through the woods looking for supper. If city people had a gun, it was apparent from television that they weren’t shooting ducks. Their guns were a different kind of tool than the guns we had in my hometown. They had guns to protect them from bad guys.

Their is no doubt that, in theory, a gun can be a tool that can protect you from scoundrels. We can all imagine a situation where we use a gun to save ourselves from a bad guy, a cinematic exercise in pulling out our weapon against some thug who is terrorizing our family. Gun in hand, we would play the hero and gun down the bad guy to the wonder and adoration of onlookers. 

So, how likely are you to use a gun to get a bad guy?

About 30,000 people died of gunshot wounds in the U.S. in 2009. About 16,000 were accidents and suicides. About 14,000 of the gun deaths were murder. Of those 14,000 murders, only 215  were what police determined were justifiable, a measure of whether a gun was used for protection or not. That’s number represents about 1.5% of homicide deaths and about 7/10ths of 1% of all gun deaths. 

A University of Pennsylvania study analyzed data from 677 shootings over two and one half years and determined that people carrying a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot and 4.2 times more likely to be killed than people who were not carrying a guns.

The odds, you see, don’t favor a gun protecting you as much as they suggest having a gun around can lead to trouble. The kind of trouble that involves a morgue.

In 2010, guns took the lives of 31,076 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings.  This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour.

73,505 Americans were treated in hospital emergency departments for non-fatal gunshot wounds in 2010.

Between 1955 and 1975, the Vietnam War killed about 58,000 American soldiers – less than the number of civilians killed with guns in the U.S. in an average two-year period.

In the first seven years of the U.S.-Iraq War, over 4,400 American soldiers were killed. Almost as many civilians are killed with guns in the U.S. every seven weeks.

Guns were used in 11,078 homicides in the U.S. in 2010, comprising almost 35% of all gun deaths, and over 68% of all homicides.

On average, 33 gun homicides were committed each day for the years 2005-2010.
Regions and states with higher rates of gun ownership have significantly higher rates of homicide than states with lower rates of gun ownership.

Where guns are prevalent, there are significantly more homicides, particularly gun homicides.

Firearms were used in 19,392 suicides in the U.S. in 2010, constituting almost 62% of all gun deaths.

Over 50% of all suicides are committed with a firearm.

On average, 49 gun suicides were committed each day for the years 2005-2010.
White males, about 40% of the U.S. population, accounted for over 80% of firearm suicides in 2010.

A study of California handgun purchasers found that in the first year after the purchase of a handgun, suicide was the leading cause of death among the purchasers.

The risk of suicide increases in homes where guns are kept loaded and/or unlocked.

With a gun in the house, if you have the worst day of your life, statistical probability shows you massively increase the chance of embracing a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

In 2010, unintentional firearm injuries caused the deaths of 606 people.

Over 1,300 victims of unintentional shootings for the period 2005–2010 were under 25 years of age.

On average, states with the highest gun levels have nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels.

A study of unintentional shootings found that 8% of such shooting deaths resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six.

Domestic violence assaults involving a firearm are 12 times more likely to result in death than those involving other weapons or bodily force.

Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.

A survey of female domestic violence shelter residents in California found that more than one third (36.7%) reported having been threatened or harmed with a firearm.
In nearly two thirds (64.5%) of those California households that contained a firearm, the intimate partner had used the firearm against the victim, usually threatening to shoot or kill the victim.

A 2000 study found that 55% of U.S. homes with children and firearms have one or more firearms in an unlocked place; 43% have guns without a trigger lock in an unlocked place.

Firearm injuries are the cause of death of 18 children and young adults (24 years of age and under) each day in the U.S.

If human heartache isn’t enough to make one consider gun issues differently, consider this: In 2005 firearm-related deaths and injuries result in estimated cost to the health care system and economy of over $40 billion - much of which is borne by U.S. taxpayers.

Once all the direct and indirect medical, legal and societal costs are factored together, the annual cost of gun violence in America amounts to $100 billion.

Gun worshippers, who so often are also anti-tax zealots, find themselves in the head scratching position of having a set of beliefs they are passionately for that creates a phenomena that they are passionately against. Gun violence causes a dramatic expenditure of tax payer resources. It’s as if someone believes in Jesus and his radical pacifism, and simultaneously believed in justifiable homicide as well. Of course, I am being sarcastic. Many people somehow passionately embrace these dissonant concepts.

A final set of statistics. Those of us who are old enough remember that awful day in 1980 when John Lennon was shot by a lunatic with a handgun. We who are music fans were heartsick given how much joy Lennon had brought into our lives with his music. But making it more heartbreaking, making it so terribly ironic, Lennon had been a very public advocate of the peace movement, had devoted his life to the practice of pacifism. 

Since the forming of the United States, our country has participated in 74 wars and conflicts. In the course of those conflicts, 850,000 American men and women have been killed in combat. This includes Confederate casualties. I don’t mean to diminish these sacrifices in any way, but I want to give you some context for why I chose the topic I chose for today. Since just 1980 over one million people have been killed by guns  in the U.S.. Thus many more people have been killed by gun violence in the brief time since John Lennon was murdered than have been killed in combat in all of our wars combined over our 237 year history. Only three of those 74 conflicts, the Civil War, World Wars One and Two, had more combat deaths than have died from guns in the past two years alone in the U.S.. The total number of soldiers killed in the 30 year long, world famous Indian Wars of the Wild West is exceeded every two weeks by gun deaths in the U.S..

I began this homily by telling you that I was surrounded by guns as a child, and how guns were a part of daily life in that rural setting, used as tools to perform a task, usually associated with putting food on the table. Because guns were so prevalent, and so important as tools, we were trained on gun safety from childhood, just as we were trained to be safe with power tools and machinery. I am a personal example of a cautious person, giving countless lectures on safety to others, have given lectures on safety repeatedly to my children, yet in a moment of the sort of carelessness that defines the human condition, cut my own finger off with a power tool. We are made of flesh and flesh is fragile.

Gun safety fails to take an unwavering variable into account. Human error is as relentlessly predictable as the earth circling the sun. Humans screw up. Every day. On the hour. Give a hundred humans a butter knife and by the end of the day one of them will end up in the emergency room. This is what we do. A screw up of the sort that every human does most days of their life when a gun is involved will send someone, not to the medicine cabinet for a bandaid, but to the morgue. Add to the inevitable  screw-ups the fact that some humans with access to a gun will get angry, will be jealous, will suffer depression or mental illness, will get drunk, or high, or will suffer the worst day of their life, and the probabilities begin to look sinister.

I got a BB gun when I was about 10 years old and in a matter of days my younger brother grabbed it and shot me in the back, leaving the pellet under the skin to be painfully removed by my mom. Many times over the years my dad would take me hunting, teach me gun safety, allow me to shoot the shotguns and pistols and rifles, but I had no enthusiasm. The violence of the recoil communicated to me that this was a powerful and dangerous tool. I had noted that the grocery store had plenty of meat for sale, I planned to make more money than my dad so I could buy it. I chose not to complicate my life with guns.

There was a dark humor associated with the dangers of farming where I grew up, humor that was often invoked our little farm town. “What do you call a farmer who tries to free a jam in the corn auger? Lefty.”

Fingers, hands, and arms often went missing when working with the machinery involved in farming. There were and are, a lot of ways to be maimed or die amongst the tools and machinery people use in farming communities. 

And of course guns were a necessary tool in a farming community. So a year didn’t go by that some hunters, out hunting quail or ducks or pheasant or deer would get peppered, Dick Cheney style, with buckshot from a shotgun. Every few years someone would made a momentary mistake with permanent implications and someone would die while hunting. I recall a incident from my youth when some local men were hunting together, going through a thicket, and a tree branch perfectly went through a trigger guard on a gun whose owner had carelessly left the safety off. The shotgun fired, killing his companion. Consider the poor man who had to hear the unexpected explosion, observe the disfiguring wound, the gushing of blood, hearing the screams and gurgling, bloody gasps, watching the life force leave his childhood friend, watching his eyes film over, having to contact authorities, help carry the body away, the body of the friend he had earlier been joking with about an incident from high school, make the long walk up the sidewalk of his friend’s house to tell his wife what had happened, watch her collapse in grief, look into the faces of his friend’s children when they grasped what had happened, and then spend the rest of his life considering a momentary lapse, forgetting to engage the safety. 

Sadly it turns out that guns are the perfect tool for another task. In a small, economically depressed town without a lot of options for many of the inhabitants, the pressures of life can be too much. With a gun in the house, a temporary problem is offered a permanent solution. One of my dad’s sisters, who I had spent countless hours with, was overwhelmed by her failing marriage, located her husband’s shotgun and killed herself. My cousin, her 16 year old daughter, found her torn and bloody body.

Two houses down from my brother’s house, a neighbor of his who was one of the first persons in town to ravage his life with drugs, gave in to despair and put a shotgun under his chin. He failed at this sordid task. The shotgun blew his lower jaw off, but he lived, permanently disfigured as a reminder of his inability to use a tool properly.

My mom’s cousin’s wife, who I vaguely recall from long ago family gatherings, suffered from mental illness. One day she took the family’s shotgun into the bedroom and shot her husband in the groin, severing his femoral artery, and he quickly bled to death.

An adopted cousin of mine, who had a troubled life,  got caught up in drug use, then drug dealing, and when a drug deal went bad, was shot and killed by his supplier.

My longtime assistant at work came home one day a few years ago to find her husband, who suffered from depression, had shot himself in the head, leaving her to discover the gore and horror in their basement.

I don’t tell you these stories to shock you, just to show you how even a a person with no interests in guns has the power of guns intrude upon his life.

Not long after college a friend of mine from college wanted to visit his girlfriend, whose family were quite wealthy and had a caretaker for their property. It was late at night, he was trying to sneak into his girlfriends bedroom from the back of the property. The caretaker was drunk, mistook him for a burglar, and shot and killed him.

Some years later, a cousin by marriage, not one of my favorite people as you shall see, owned several bars and liquor stores and carried a gun for protection. As he went to pay for a meal in a restaurant one day with his 7 year old son standing next to him, his pistol fell out of his pocket, hit the floor and went off. He could have killed his son or killed a patron of the restaurant. In a rare example of gun karma, the bullet went into his own leg. This very same person, a year later, convinced his brother and business partner that he needed a gun for protection as well and provided him with a gun he had bought 2nd hand. There was an altercation at one of their bars, the younger brother drew the gun in a panic and it turned out that it had a faulty trigger. It went off, a man died, and the brother was tried for first degree murder. Only the easily proven truth that his  older brother had given him a faulty handgun kept him out of prison for life.

My dad, who was a crank on gun safety, was returning home from trapping muskrats and raccoons after an ice storm. He slipped on ice in the driveway, fell to the concrete,  the handgun in a holster on his hip fell out and went off. The bullet clipped his glasses, hit him above his left eye, tearing part of the flesh and hair from his eyebrow and lodged in the porch. He missed being blinded or maimed or killed by a fraction of an inch. As is the case with most wounds in around the brow, although it wasn’t life threatening, blood gushed from his head, covering his face and upper body. In shock, not sure how badly he was hurt, he rushed into the house, couldn’t find my mom, then went to the bathroom to examine himself. As it turns out, my mom was taking a bath, looked up to see my dad covered from head to toe in blood, and when he saw her he shouted, “Joyce, I’ve shot myself in the head.” My mom laughs about it now, but she almost had a heart attack at the time, thinking he had intentionally shot himself in the head.

So you can see how handy guns are for protecting you from harm. I seem to have had an statistically improbable number of people connected to my life experience gun tragedy. Forgive me if I don’t think guns make you more safe. I don’t need to hear the statistics that prove that guns don’t make you safer, I have experienced it. I don’t know anyone who used a gun to protect themselves from a bad guy. I know a whole bunch of people whose lives have been shattered by having guns around the house.

A few years back I was walking through a hotel lobby on Michigan Avenue during a weekend shared with a group of friends. One of the friends was a 20 year veteran police officer, a decorated veteran of undercover work of the most dangerous kind, skilled at gun use and safety, the steadiest, most responsible person I know. He had a further connection to guns. He had lost a loved one to gun violence in the most horrible way imaginable. As my friend and I walked down a short flight of steps to the lobby proper I heard a metallic clang, a shrill rhythmic clatter, then a swooshing sound, as if something were sliding across the marble floor. I looked down to see my friends service handgun sliding like a hockey puck across the floor. He dashed over, picked it up and quickly put it in his pocket, as we both looked around expecting a panic to ensue. Incredibly, no one saw it but us.

Because of his job he was required to carry his pistol at all times. Had anyone seen it, he could have pulled out a badge and all would be forgiven. But what if it went off? What occurred to me was this: If a highly trained and decorated police officer with a family history of gun heartache couldn’t carry a handgun without a screw up, then it was quite literally impossible to carry a gun without a chance of something unexpected and possibly deadly occurring.

I didn’t grow up in Englewood, or Watts, or Dodge City, or Deadwood, or Sarajevo, or Kabul. I grew up in the equivalent of Mayberry, a setting almost absent of crime, surrounded by thoughtful, careful people. Yet you see how much heartache I have brushed against because of the dangers of guns.

Our founding fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment at a time when the only kind of gun available was a single shot, muzzle loading weapon. They could never have foreseen 100 bullet magazines and automatic weapons that can be hidden in a jacket. Only someone with a crippled moral code and a financial interest could pretend the Founding fathers would have approved of modern battlefield weaponry in the streets. But the founding fathers were a brilliant, prescient bunch. They wrote into the Constitution that guns be regulated, the only mention of the word regulation in the Bill of Rights. Their was one thing in America the Founding Fathers wanted regulated enough to mention in the Constitution. Guns.

When my dad passed away my brothers and I had to decide what to do with his guns. My older brother and I weren’t really interested in the shotguns and rifle, so my younger brother took them. I did however take one of his handguns, which might surprise those of you who know me. In spite of everything I just told you, I have a handgun in my house.

But I think Jefferson and Adams and the other founding fathers would approve.

The handgun that I kept to honor my dad is a single shot, muzzle loading replica of a pistol from the revolutionary war. I have no powder, or firing caps, no shot, and never will. But in the unlikely event an intruder comes in my house, the pistol is made of hardwood and steel and will make a great club. A club, you see, can’t accidentally kill me or anyone else, a reality which will prevent me or a loved one from being a sad statistic or story like you’ve just heard.

I obviously learned at some point that everyone didn’t grow up like me. When that happened, I didn’t take it upon myself to try to make everyone  else be like me. The gun onanists want everybody afraid and armed to the teeth, just like them. 

I told you about my childhood to reveal a way of life in which a gun was an essential tool for survival, a tool for putting food on the table. Even then it was a tool that’s dangers brought untold heartache into the world because of unavoidable  human foibles. It is a tool that is as necessary now in most house holds as a butter churn or a button hook. Recently, a few miles from the house I grew up in, a man with a bipolar disorder took a rifle, shotgun, and a handgun into his estranged girl friend’s family home and butchered 5 people, including 2 small children. Background checks, the kind the NRA once supported and now opposes, might have kept him from a acquiring those guns. 

The Ten Commandments, God’s instructions to mankind, tells us to not worship false idols. Gun advocates today are rarely people who see guns as I do, as tools. They view them as onanistic objects of worship. 

If you need to hunt to put food on the table, or live where their is violent crime and the police aren’t nearby, by all means keep a gun in the house and be as safe with it as is humanly possible. But the vast majority of us don’t live in such circumstances. Guns shouldn’t be objects of entertainment or worship. There are better choices for entertainment and much worthier ways to worship.

 I hope you will join with me in recalling all of the wonderful, loving people who have died as a result gun violence, as well as their grieving families, and pledge to worship a culture of empathy and compassion instead of a culture of deadly false idols. 

I began considering this homily in the aftermath of the awful murders in Connecticut. At that time there was hope that a bit of good would come from the cold blooded murders of school children, and that some sensible restrictions of battlefield weaponry on the streets could be achieved. Of course we know that the NRA and their patrons want no such thing and are masters at stirring up paranoia regarding gun issues. They are experts at demonizing gun control advocates and maintaining their positions. This is to be expected. What I didn’t expected was contained in an article I stumbled upon recently.

The article is about a University of Texas law student named Cody Wilson. Wilson is a sharp guy who is fascinated by a new technology that allow 3 dimensional objects to be printed. There are already printers that exist that, instead of spraying ink in two dimensions on a piece of paper, spray plastic in layers that cure rock hard, and allow three dimensional objects to be built. This technology is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry and is becoming available for home use. For a few thousand dollars you can make 3D objects in your home. 

Mr. Wilson’s particular interest is in using 3d printers to print guns. He and his group of like minded friends, called Defense Distributed, have been creating CAD files for simple guns, silencers, large capacity magazines, and gun parts. If you have a 3d printer you can download these files for free and print the parts needed to assemble a gun. His website recently upped the ante by posting the design instructions for a printable, large magazine, fully automatic gun. For all intents and purposes, it will be invisible to most security devices. In an interview Mr. Wilson was particular excited that this technology is virtually uncontrollable by the government. Authorities made the website remove the instructions for printing the automatic weapon - after it’s easily copied files were downloaded over 100,000 times.

Weapons you can print in your home.  Again, what could possibly go wrong?

The problem of sensible restrictions on guns and battlefield weaponry just go a lot more complicated.
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