Apr 1, 2010

Internet Idiocy

First, a disclaimer: I think the 1934 National Firearms Act was a bad idea, the 1968 Gun Control Act was a bad idea, and closing the registry in 1986 was a horrible idea. It may strike some of you as odd, but I *don't* think the NICS check is a bad idea. I'm well aware that it doesn't do MUCH to keep guns out of the hands of Bad Men, but I do catch the occasional anecdote (not to be confused with data) of idiots with warrants and/or priors trying to buy guns. It's not particularly onerous for those of us who ARE legit, although the use of 4473 clerical errors as a bludgeon by the ATF makes me cranky. (My favorite shop got audited this winter; he's spending several days in and out of federal offices and courts explaining why someone forgot to check "no" on a 4473. THIS is stupidity.)

In any case. I spend a LOT of time on the Smith & Wesson Forum. It's a good group of folks and about as tightly knit as one can expect from nearly 50,000 members. Great mods and owner, and the depth of information available is second to none - as long as you want to talk S&W. For as long as I've been hanging out there (since I got my 28-2 a couple years ago), it's been (bluntly) a bit of a Fudd forum. This isn't a bad thing: they certainly don't frown on black rifles (just combat tupperware), but the focus is Smiths. Since Smith is known for wheelies there wasn't a lot of crossover with, say, ArfCom.

Until this past year, when they released the M&P15-22. It's an AR in that it accepts pretty much all AR accesories, but has a polymer receiver and is blowback instead of gas operated. However, for $500, it's less costly than most dedicated .22 uppers, and certainly more reliable (and accurate) than the various .223-.22LR conversions out there. Suddenly, the masses of black-rifle kids (and I don't mean that as a pejorative term!) were appearing in the S&W Forum. The conversations stayed on-topic thanks to pretty much constant effort from the mods, and a few trolls and others saw the banhammer for repeatedly breaking rules. In other words, no major changes, particularly when the 15-22s were moved to their own group.

I poke in there occasionally, and chime in on a few conversations - generally not about the 15-22 specifically, since I don't own one. Yet. (I've been considering it and if they'd make an A4 setup instead of the railfarm I'd be all over it.) Regardless, I skim through the group at least once a day and chime in where I think I can be of help.

Last night, a user posted a new topic with a title to the effect of, "15-22 full auto". Inside was a link to a YouTube video. I was curious, so clicked over, fully expecting to see a CoD-kid bump-firing his 15-22. ... Nope. Video description said something about a trigger mod, and the video was clearly full-auto, not a bump-fire or crankfire. (!!!!!!)

I clicked back to the forum, "reported" the post, and replied with something along the lines of, "you just posted a video online of an unregistered/untaxed machine gun... that'll be good for 5-10 years in club fed. Probably should undo what you did and delete the videos ASAP." There were several more posts of roughly the same content, both before and after me - and a couple of "damn that's cool man".

... and you know what? I agree. IT IS COOL, MAN! A reliable .22LR full-auto (and the cyclic rate was VERY high - 25 rounds in about 2 seconds) would be a GREAT way to enjoy full-auto in a slightly more affordable way. Particularly since it's possible to actually control a zero-recoil .22 much more effectively than a centerfire. I've shot a (registered, legal, and in another state) full-auto M16. It was FUN. But. Even if they were legal to have in NY, I couldn't afford to feed one enough to make it worth having. .22LR? That I could afford.

All that said: If you're going to be an idiot and make your 15-22 into a machine gun (and this is just fodder for the anti's, by the by - "he turned it into a machine gun with only a few tools!") ... don't post about it online. Don't take videos of it. Don't tell anyone. In fact, don't do it to begin with. And if you have done it, take apart your fire control group. Take out any pieces you've modified, beat them out of shape with a hammer, then cut them into small pieces. Then order new ones from S&W or whomever and call the $50 in parts a learning experience - that will save you from 5-10 years of "experience" while Bubba enjoys that sweet young thing in his cell.

Part of owning a firearm - ANY firearm - is knowing the laws in your area. Municipal, state, and federal. And following them, unless you want to go to federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

I understand, when you're 18, 19, 20 - hell, even 40, 50 - that it's easy to think you're immortal, or above the law, or "they won't care about one kid doing this". Here's a hint, folks: THEY CARE. If my small-town part-time dealer is spending days and dollars in court over a checkmark on a sheet of paper, THEY CARE. And you are NOT above the law. You want to play with FA? Get your 01FFL, ClassIII stuff, or the manufacturing FFL (07?). Then see just how much they care and how much paperwork is involved. Mind-blowing.

Because they care, they will prosecute you, and you will likely lose. Fines up to $100,000 (Mom? Dad? How would guys feel about getting a second mortgage over Junior's $500 rifle?), 5-10 years in pokey ... and you come out a convicted felon, unable to ever own a firearm again, probably unable to vote, and having to explain that ten-year-gap on your work history when you try to apply for another job. None of these are pleasant options.

While I was poking around the "related" videos, a few other things in the same vein caught my eye:
- a Marlin 60 running FA
- a Ruger 10/22 running FA (I have seen these done legally by FFLs. A 14-year-old is not an FFL.)
- a 10/22 SBR ("Don't worry, it's legal*," says the teenager filming the video.)
- pop-bottle or PVC "silencers"
- etc, etc, etc

* - It IS possible to make a legal 10/22 SBR. It'll cost you a $200 tax stamp and a Form 1, along with signatures and so forth. This one, however, looks like someone took the barreled action out of a Ruger Charger and slapped it into a 10/22 rifle stock. Ruger, if you're paying attention, it would behoove you to make this un-possible without removing metal somewhere. Thompson-Center went to court over this with their Contenders, and that judgment only eliminated constructive possession, NOT actual possession!


Weer'd Beard said...

*sigh* its a sad state of affairs when people do this.

Sadder still that its actually a crime.

The NFA is one of those laws EVERYBODY should be asking EVERY Politician if they support. and if they DO support it we should demand a detailed description WHY.

Stupid should hurt!

Oh and speaking of Stupid. I want me an M&P15-22 SO BAD, as bad as I want an M&P9. I think the M&P15-22 makes a great trainer gun for the AR-platform, as well as for new shooters given the adjustable stock. And there's the problem. Can't HAVE the adjustable stock here in Mass as that makes it an "Assault Weapon". Can't have the full-size mags either...that doesn't concern me as much with the 15-22.....but the M&P9? Putting a 10-round magazine into a well built for 17. DEAL BREAKER.

Got money in my bank account RIGHT NOW, and it won't be going to them.


elmo iscariot said...

It may strike some of you as odd, but I *don't* think the NICS check is a bad idea.

I agree, for a different reason.

The "it stops a bad guy here and there" argument requires you to accept both that said bad guy won't get a gun through other means, and that he won't hurt or kill people if he can't get a gun. Both are such long shots that I don't think a universal restriction on a fundamental Constitutional right is justified.

But... The NICS checks have one enormous benefit: they defang all kinds of hysterical claims of gun control advocates. More than once I've seen the look in a fence-sitter's eyes change when, just after saying something like "well, I read that we have less gun control now than in the old West, and that anybody can buy any gun they want at any time", he was told "federal law requires a background check on the spot for every purchase at a gun shop". It's why the antis are clinging so hard to something as trivial as shows; when every single dealer sale is guaranteed to be lawful, most reasonable people figure we're doing about all we reasonably can to obstruct criminals from buying guns.

So you and I have a very fine disagreement on NICS checks. I would prefer to get rid of them, but would put it near the bottom of any action list.

[The NICS system needs to be reformed, though. We shouldn't be paying fees for it (this _is_ a civil right; aren't NICS fees exactly as unconstitutional as poll taxes?), and it's an unacceptable risk of backdoor registration. If the point is to determine whether I'm a prohibited person, the feds don't need the model and serial number of the gun. Address those issues, and I'd probably be cool with _extending_ NICS to private sales. Without even the "gun show loophole" to complain about, the antis might finish their slide down the toilet already.]

ZerCool said...

@ Weerd, I handled one of the 15-22s at a fun show here. I want except for one thing: I hate that I'll have to buy covers for the rail farm just to shoot it. And yes, they're neutered in NY too.

I'd love to see GCA and NFA repealed also, but I don't think that's a realistic goal until we've beaten down the rest of the crap we're dealing with. Baby steps. They wanted to infringe in increments, we'll take it all back - in increments. I'm hoping to save up for a Serbu Super Shorty here as my small knock against the Man. And yes, I'll do all the damn paperwork, even though it could be made with a $250 Mossy500, a $6 hacksaw, and a dab of Cold Blue.

@ Elmo - I agree with your points about bad guys getting guns anyways and violence even without guns (witness Formerly-great Britain)... so yes, we agree there. NICS fees? My dealers don't charge a fee for a NICS check. Dealers at shows here (where NICS is required for FTF) charge $15-20 for doing the check, but they are providing a service, not paying a fee on to the NICS offices. So ... there is no "gun show loophole" here.

elmo iscariot said...

I think it varies by state. We definitely have a charge here in Jersey, and I've heard of it elsewhere, too. NJ runs its own checks throught he State Police (supposedly--there's some indication that they just turn around and run a NICS check themselves), which might be the reason.

I'm with you on increments. Push for stuff that will make a difference for mostly-free states (say, nationwide permitless carry, or repealing NFA) and we'll lose hard. Push to bring ultra-anti enclaves like NJ, NY, and MA "up to code" with the rest of the country, and we'll see far more people in those places becoming gun owners. Once everybody in Jersey City and Boston and NYC knows a friend who owns guns, watch the liberal Democratic support for gun control wither on the vine.