Why Gun Control cannot work

If we just prohibit the law abiding from owning guns, then criminals won’t be able to get them either.

So say the proponents of “strong gun control”.  That they often say this in the same breath with saying they are not for complete prohibition but just “reasonable” or “common sense” restrictions, makes the claim even more laughable.

The first thing you need to remember is how extremely simple guns are at their core.  The basic firearm dates back to 13th century China.  Firearms first arrived in Europe in the next century.  Methods making firearms more conveniently portable and more effective continued to evolve.  The matchlock, basically a lever that dropped a smoldering wick (a cord treated with saltpeter so it would continue a slow burn and called a match) into a small container, called a pan, of powder attached to the barrel.  It ignites the powder in the pan which in turn ignites the main charge and fires the gun  The wheellock used a grooved wheel, spun against a piece of pyrite or flint to generate sparks to ignite the powder in the pan.  The snaplock replaced the wheel and its complicated operating mechanism by simply having the flint/pyrite strike a piece of steel.  The flintlock simplified it still further by having the pan cover and striking target of the flint combined into a single piece in the early 1600’s.

Percussion caps, the father of the primer, were first introduced in the early 19th century.  And with that, 19th century technology, we have the elements needed for the modern firearm.

The chemicals necessary to make percussion caps are straightforward and only a modest knowledge of chemistry is required to do it.  Black powder is even simpler.  But even smokeless powders are only nineteenth century technology.

Thus, even if one were able to make all the currently existing firearms disappear, a bigger challenge than the folk promoting gun control would have you believe, what you cannot do is eliminate the knowledge of how to make more.  Everything from simple single-shot firearms made from plumbing supplies, to submachine guns can be and are made by individuals both openly and clandestinely.

Here are a few examples:

That’s just at tiny, tiny sample.

The United States Army has a training manual, TM 31-210 Improvised Munitions, which includes how to make firearms and explosives from readily available materials.  Yes, it’s available online.

In addition to manufacturing firearms, there are numerous solutions for improvised ammo as well.  Cases are simply brass tubes sealed at one end.  Bullets are simply something solid stuck at the other end.  The most difficult portion is priming, igniting the powder in the case.  And that, frankly, has been a solved problem for two hundred years.

And, yes, these improvised/homemade weapons have certainly been used:

So much for Australia’s ban.

If the criminals want guns, they can get guns.  They can smuggle them or they can make them or have them made.

2 thoughts on “Why Gun Control cannot work”

  1. I think it was Ken Hamblin who related that as a young child, he made money, and earned at least some immunity from gang harassment, by being good at making zip guns. Gang members didn’t want to lose him as a supplier.
    But when a pre-teen kid can make a working gun, I’m not sure what you can ban to make it impossible.


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