Metrosexual Bryan Schatz, reporting for the red rag Mother Jones, impersonated a normal male American and attended a “build party.”
Build parties seem to be a California phenomenon (the only ones I can find reference to were advertized on the Calguns.net forum), in which people get together, in accordance with currently existing federal gun regulations, to complete personally the lower receiver (which is the element of modern semi-automatic rifles that is legally regarded as constituting the firearm as which is consequently the only part whose sale and transfer is regulated) and then assemble the complete AK or AR rifle using a parts kit.
A build party offers the opportunity to legally manufacture your own contemporary military-style semi-automatic-only rifle, which since you made it for your own use, has no serial number and need not be registered. Beyond that, a build party saves the prospective gun-owner at least a portion of the cost of a fully-assembled semi-automatic contemporary military-style rifle.
Schatz is your typical liberal pussy, who is intentionally milking for journalistic purposes all the shock and awe of actually handling, and even assembling, mechanical instruments that look war-like and can go boom! when you pull the trigger. These sorts of people always bask in the transgressive romance and machismo of it all.
Many kits come from stockpiles in former war zones. “I can guarantee you this one has bodies on it,” says one of the hosts as I peer down the barrel of a Yugo RPK. It’s lined with grit and soot. My host says the AK I’m building is an Egyptian “Maadi” that came to the United States via Croatia, likely having been shipped there during the Yugoslav wars. He tells me some wooden stocks come with tally marks notched in them.
But never for very long. Schatz quickly moves on to worrying about the absence of Big Brother monitoring all this. Since these build party guns are neither numbered nor registered, his liberal heart begins leaping with terror over the fact that they are “not traceable.”
Liberal efforts at gun control always begin with the fundamentally bogus idea that finding the perpetrator of a crime of violence is always, or even often, a question of identifying the actual weapon used or tracing its chain of ownership. In reality, the identity of the culprit is almost always determined from witnesses, motives and opportunity, or by the criminal’s subsequent actions, rather than by tracing ownership of the weapon.
Countless millions of unregistered guns, guns going back to the Beretta-manufactured wheel-lock that John Alden brought over on the Mayflower, are already out there. There are lots of Americans just as handy as the Afghan bazaar craftsmen who can make an entire AK-47 with hand tools in mud shack, and we are presently entering the age in which you can print out that lower receiver (or an entire gun) with a 3-D printer. The Canadians tried registering all of their guns, spent billions on the project, and finally concluded that gun registration, after more than a decade had never actually played any role in solving any crime.
The truth of the matter is that gun registration, keeping track of serial numbers and ownership, is not about solving crimes at all. It is really just a way of injecting friction and cost and potential legal jeopardy into firearms transfers and owndership, with the end goal being confiscation.
In the end, Schatz proves his liberal bona fides, naturally, by deliberately destroying the AK he had fun assembling and shooting. It would be wrong to own such a thing. After all, it might climb out of your closet and go on a killing spree.
I never knew that rational people actually read Mother Jones, but Schatz’s commenters really kicked Schatz’s nonsense around the block. The comments are a lot better than the article.
Build parties sound mildly intriguing, and I have actually begun to see the point of owning so-called “assault weapons.” That lower receiver is just the platform to which you can attach an extraordinary variety of optional barrels, stocks, and accessories, making it, in essence, a Swiss Army Knife-style shooting platform. Still, even with a build party, the cost of upper receivers and barrels, stocks, and accessories inevitably add up. Start with a few hundred for the lower receiver and the party, and add in the rest, and that black rifle plinking toy is always going to cost pretty close to a thou. It can easily cost more.
You can buy some awfully nice classic old-fashioned rifles for that kind of money. Who’d want a plastic semi-auto plinker, when for the same kind of money you could buy, for instance, a pre-WWI classic sporter? The way I figure it, if we ever get into a state of civil unrest in which one really seriously needs an AR, I can always just shoot some representative of the tyrannical government and take his, which will have full-auto too.