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FYI: Is It Legal To 3-D Print A Handgun?
popsci.com ^ | 4 October, 2012 | Clay Dillow

Posted on 10/05/2012 11:39:04 AM PDT by marktwain

Earlier this week, the Wiki Weapons Project--an initiative to create a 3-D printed handgun and distribute the digital design file for free online--ran into a stumbling block when 3-D printer provider Stratasys pulled the lease on a printer it had provided the group. Stratasys cited a clause in the lease agreement that allows the company to rescind a lease for printers believed to be used for unlawful purposes. That raises the obvious (and thorny) question: Is the Wiki Weapons Project doing anything illegal?

We at PopSci are experts on many things, but federal firearms regulations and intellectual property law are not among them. As we understand it, one is required to obtain a federal firearms manufacturing license to produce firearms in this country--if those firearms are for sale. The Wiki Weapons Project has demonstrated no intention to sell any potential firearm it creates, but rather to create a freely distributed digital file that would allow anyone with the right hardware and know-how to print their own firearm.

And the law doesn't have much to say about that, not explicitly, anyway. Regardless of your personal feelings toward the Wiki Weapons Project, it is at the very least forcing us to take a look at what happens in a world where information (which wants to be free) can be easily converted into physical objects--many of which (like firearms) are not supposed to flow freely.

“This raises lots of interesting questions,” says Michael Weinberg, a staff attorney at Public Knowledge, a legal consortium focused on digital technology, the internet and intellectual property. “There are going to be a lot of stories in the future about people doing interesting things and uninteresting things with 3-D printing. The question people need to ask themselves is: was this possible before 3-D printing?

(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist; digital; handgun; print
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Homemade guns have been produced since the 1500's. This technology makes little difference, but it does a service by educating more people about the reality that has always existed.
1 posted on 10/05/2012 11:39:07 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

3D printing may be ok for grips and other parts not subject to high pressures and or forces. No way would I fire a gun whose barrel, bolt, or receiver is made of printed plastic, or built up micro-welds.


2 posted on 10/05/2012 11:46:57 AM PDT by fso301
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To: marktwain

It is fully legal to make a firearm for one’s own personal use, ie, not intended for resale. You do not need to have a Type 07 FFL, as long as it is not intended for resale. If it is for resale, then you need a Type 07, and you’ll need to pay the 10 or 11% excise tax.

It doesn’t even need to have a serial #.

You just need to file a Form 1 with the ATF.


3 posted on 10/05/2012 11:47:56 AM PDT by NVDave
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To: marktwain

it is simple, what is the law regarding ANY home made weapon?


4 posted on 10/05/2012 11:48:07 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: marktwain

Yeah, but tools like 3D printers—which we can expect to get even better and more affordable over time—will place weapons manufacture readily into the hands of laymen.

Anything that helps nullify the enforceability of arms restrictions and dissolves the State’s monopoly on force, I can only regard as a good thing.


5 posted on 10/05/2012 11:51:53 AM PDT by Utmost Certainty (Our Enemy, the State)
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To: marktwain

In general, manufacture, if it is in compliance with the laws that govern barrel length, overall length, rate of fire (auto/semiauto), etc.

So long as the gear is not made for sale, should be good to go.

should be interesting to see how this works out!


6 posted on 10/05/2012 11:53:05 AM PDT by petro45acp (The question isn't "are you better off?" it should be "is it really the government's job?")
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To: fso301

When 3D printed (aka “additive machining”) comes to firearms parts that have to withstand pressure, they’ll work. There is already 3D machining of metal parts - the printing “ink” is powdered metal and binder, and the result is baked in an oven to sinter or fuse the metal together.

There’s already plenty of firearms parts that use something very much like this in MIM parts.


7 posted on 10/05/2012 11:53:05 AM PDT by NVDave
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To: marktwain
Is It Legal To 3-D Print A Handgun?

That depends on whether you are also printing page 2 that has the silencer on it... :)

8 posted on 10/05/2012 11:55:49 AM PDT by MrDem (Founder: Democrats for Cheney/Palin 2012)
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To: marktwain

Wiki Weapons Project should just raise the funds to purchase the printer, instead of leasing it. Oppression doesn’t just come from the State, it also comes from statist-oriented companies, and from companies that get their panties in a wad at the thought of looking bad because of what customers do with their products.

I fully support this project; it is in its own was a predecessor to the Weapons Shops of Isher. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weapon_Shops_of_Isher

“The right to own weapons is the right to be free.”


9 posted on 10/05/2012 11:55:59 AM PDT by Ancesthntr (Bibi to Odumbo: Its not going to happen.)
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To: fso301
or built up micro-welds.

If those micro-welds are small enough then it is going to be indistinguishable from cast metals.... but what'd be more interesting is if these printers get to multi-material/near-nanotech levels: at that point we can start making firearms with multi-layered chambers (stronger), barrel-integrated silencers (like the De Lisle carbine), and perhaps glassy-carbon chamber/rifling coating (which should make cleaning uber-simple, the carbon residue from firing won't stick to such parts, IIUC).

10 posted on 10/05/2012 11:58:39 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: marktwain

Federally legal, so long as made for personal use and NOT for resale.
Your state & local laws may vary.

Sounds like Stratasys made a bad move.

While I don’t agree, I understand their concerns. This will soon become a hot sociopolitical issue they want no association with.


11 posted on 10/05/2012 11:58:56 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com)
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To: Ancesthntr; marktwain

“it is in its own was a predecessor ....”

“it is in its own WAY a predecessor ...”


12 posted on 10/05/2012 12:03:11 PM PDT by Ancesthntr (Bibi to Odumbo: Its not going to happen.)
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To: marktwain

You can build your own firearm without a license so long as it’s for personal use and isn’t an NFA weapon*. You can’t sell it. NFA weapons are more tricky but some are still doable with paperwork. I don’t think you can build a full auto anymore.

Gets into an interesting area. With technology, computer operated machine tools are more available.

(*I am not a lawyer, just some guy on the internet. Before you go build yourself a gun, a ma deuce, howitzer, or tank go see one who specializes in firearms and make sure what you’re doing is legal where you live.)


13 posted on 10/05/2012 12:03:48 PM PDT by RKBA Democrat
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To: marktwain
"The Right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Nope. They are good to go...

14 posted on 10/05/2012 12:04:32 PM PDT by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: fso301; NVDave; OneWingedShark

Fused/sintered nickle powder assemblies are often strengthened by infusing them with brass/bronze during the post-print anneal process.

The parts won’t be as strong as a forged steel part, but with appropriate design considerations they can be strong enough!

After all, CANON used to be made from cast bronze!


15 posted on 10/05/2012 12:18:31 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1354 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: Ancesthntr

Wow! You’ve actually read that?

You must be OOOOOOLD!


16 posted on 10/05/2012 12:19:57 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1354 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: fso301

Hmmm.. just out of curiosity: how much pressure is involved in the 40mm grenade launcher? And in the grenade parts?


17 posted on 10/05/2012 12:20:12 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: OneWingedShark; NVDave
If those micro-welds are small enough then it is going to be indistinguishable from cast metals.

I'm neither a metallurgist or materials engineer so, I can't disprove that statement. If you are correct, that's pretty cool but I'll wait to see someone run 50K rounds through a printed gun under a variety of conditions before I'd feel confident firing one.

but what'd be more interesting is if these printers get to multi-material/near-nanotech levels: at that point we can start making firearms with multi-layered chambers (stronger), barrel-integrated silencers (like the De Lisle carbine), and perhaps glassy-carbon

Many possibilities. Will be interesting to see which direction the technology goes.

18 posted on 10/05/2012 12:20:32 PM PDT by fso301
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To: Hardraade
Hmmm.. just out of curiosity: how much pressure is involved in the 40mm grenade launcher?

Dunno but my guess is the tube is designed to withstand shotgun type pressures.

And in the grenade parts?

Obviously, failure under pressure is the objective but what that pressure is I also dunno.

19 posted on 10/05/2012 12:27:50 PM PDT by fso301
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To: marktwain

I’ll take a 3d template for a .357 HK P9! (and for a .357 cartridge)


20 posted on 10/05/2012 12:28:47 PM PDT by the anti-liberal
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To: fso301
I'm neither a metallurgist or materials engineer so, I can't disprove that statement.

Here's a few references to it:
Cold Welding / Cold Pressure Welding

21 posted on 10/05/2012 12:30:00 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: NVDave

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_118/579913_3D_printed_lower___yes__it_works_.html

Works just fine. Not quite up to printing a barrel yet... But getting there.


22 posted on 10/05/2012 12:30:45 PM PDT by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: Hardraade
Hmmm.. just out of curiosity: how much pressure is involved in the 40mm grenade launcher?

Depends on if you're talking about the M-203A or the Mk-19.

23 posted on 10/05/2012 12:31:55 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: null and void; NVDave; OneWingedShark
Fused/sintered nickle powder assemblies are often strengthened by infusing them with brass/bronze during the post-print anneal process. The parts won’t be as strong as a forged steel part, but with appropriate design considerations they can be strong enough!

I would say it's a start. I'm sure metallurgists and material scientists are working on improvements.

After all, CANON used to be made from cast bronze!

And shotgun barrels used to be made of twist steel. I wouldn't advise running modern powder through either.

24 posted on 10/05/2012 12:34:11 PM PDT by fso301
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To: fso301
Will be interesting to see which direction the technology goes.

As always, I believe the technology will go toward wherever people's interests and willingness to pay lie, barring any physical impossibilities. I don't see any impossibilities down the path to what's been stated thus far on this thread. It seems analogous to a desire for 12 megapixel camera resolution (a resolution that would allow photographers confidently to abandon most legacy film designs) that started out twenty years ago as 640x480. We're now at something analogous to the 640x480 camera resolution in the 3d printer realm, IMHO.

HF

25 posted on 10/05/2012 12:36:34 PM PDT by holden
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To: marktwain
-many of which (like firearms) are not supposed to flow freely.

Stopped reading right there.

26 posted on 10/05/2012 12:38:45 PM PDT by Repeat Offender (Official Romney/GOP-E Platform - We suck less)
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To: marktwain

Does anyone know what kind of material ( gook ) is used in these 3D machines?

Is it possible to use a transparent acrylic ( or some other transparent fluid/plastic ) for making aquariums for example?


27 posted on 10/05/2012 12:38:45 PM PDT by A'elian' nation (Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. Jacques Barzun)
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To: OneWingedShark
Here's a few references to it: Cold Welding / Cold Pressure Welding

Very interesting. Thanks!

28 posted on 10/05/2012 12:44:10 PM PDT by fso301
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To: marktwain

bump for later


29 posted on 10/05/2012 12:45:24 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Looting the future to bribe the present)
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To: marktwain

Some of the people here are missing the point.

It is not necessary to print the ENTIRE gun on a 3-D plastic printer. You only have to print the controlled part — the receiver. In some cases (such as the AR-15) you can buy the upper without government oversight. In addition, in some cases (such as the AR-15), the lower has to withstand very little force. The bolt (steel) locks directly into the barrel (also steel) while firing. The lower only has to hold everything together during recoil. Some force, but not nearly as much as the barrel and bolt see.

I would imagine that a LOT of other designs could be created that would have very little stress on the controlled part (the lower). This looks VERY interesting.


30 posted on 10/05/2012 12:54:18 PM PDT by jim_trent
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To: holden
As always, I believe the technology will go toward wherever people's interests and willingness to pay lie, barring any physical impossibilities. I don't see any impossibilities down the path to what's been stated thus far on this thread. It seems analogous to a desire for 12 megapixel camera resolution (a resolution that would allow photographers confidently to abandon most legacy film designs) that started out twenty years ago as 640x480. We're now at something analogous to the 640x480 camera resolution in the 3d printer realm, IMHO.

Agreed. Technological changes are occurring rapidly in areas of 3D Printing and digital photography that will have untold impacts in the area of manufacturing. Add to this the research and the impact that DARPA is involved in when it comes to textiles:

DARPA issues robot challenge to clothing imports

Manufacturing will come back to the US. Sadly our cultural and educational development has lagged far behind the technological changes. This will create untold societal upheaval.
31 posted on 10/05/2012 1:05:27 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: Ancesthntr; All

My CCW instruction LLC is Isher Enterprises.


32 posted on 10/05/2012 1:16:47 PM PDT by marktwain
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To: jim_trent

True, from a current legal standpoint. Print an AR15 lower receiver, which does little more than hold the remaining major components together, and most of it legally amounts to mail-ordering accessories.

Nonetheless, being able to insert bulk raw material & push one button and have the entire functional product appear is a major paradigm shift.


33 posted on 10/05/2012 1:19:40 PM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com)
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To: PA Engineer

Ya know, DARPA does have a real interest in this. Imagine a supply chain that instead of moving finished goods to the front lines could just move raw materials and manufacture whatever they needed within minutes and yards of use.


34 posted on 10/05/2012 1:22:22 PM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com)
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To: fso301

What, you don’t want the barrel and brass blowing up in your face like a trick cigar? Killjoy.


35 posted on 10/05/2012 1:31:08 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.)
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To: marktwain

I don’t see why it would be illegal, unless you aren’t legally allowed to possess a gun.


36 posted on 10/05/2012 1:44:45 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: ctdonath2

“Nonetheless, being able to insert bulk raw material & push one button and have the entire functional product appear is a major paradigm shift.”

It’s really not that big of a shift from what is currently possible with a CNC Mill. You’d have to change tool heads manually and flip the billet over manually with a “hobbyist” level mill, but it’s essentially just “push a button” and the mill does all the work.


37 posted on 10/05/2012 1:53:28 PM PDT by RatSlayer
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To: marktwain

Remember how slow printers were in the old days? You had to wait forever to get a page out of them. Now, plenty of home laserjets can crank out 30 pages a minute, no problem.

I suppose we’ll see similar speed improvements with these 3D printers, not to mention many, many other improvements in them, including in the kinds and strengths of materials and substances they can “print” out.

Then the question won’t be whether or not it is legal to print a handgun, but whether or not it is legal own a little flake of silicon that has particular strings of 1s and 0s on it. Because who would want his closet all cluttered up with curios and relics when, with the push of a button, he could start cranking out thirty M249 SAWs every minute, and thus start rocking and rolling with the forces of tyranny on a moment’s notice? That’s what we’re really talking about. And I say “yes,” because they won’t be able to stop those who are determined to retain and restore their freedoms, no matter what silly laws they pass in the interim.


38 posted on 10/05/2012 1:56:14 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: fso301

Thing is, I seem to remember some granades being mostly made of plastic, filled with shrapnel and explosive, so that a hi-pressure body burst is not necessary. Just a speedy drive load.

These things might be very good for printing.

If so, I have a neat design here which will give the fighter the ability to project the thing 100 yards plus, with no actual barrel and material cost of 50 cents or so, fitting in your shirt pocket :).


39 posted on 10/05/2012 2:00:56 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: ctdonath2
Ya know, DARPA does have a real interest in this. Imagine a supply chain that instead of moving finished goods to the front lines could just move raw materials and manufacture whatever they needed within minutes and yards of use.

I have spent time gaming this. It seems manufacturing, both military and commercial is going this direction.

I have imagined sitting down to a computer and even designing a certain type of shirt, pants and boots. Thirty minutes later after hitting the return key, a UPS notice is emailed. I firmly believe we are heading there, including things as varied as cabinetry to furniture.
40 posted on 10/05/2012 2:27:17 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: A'elian' nation

What material would you like?

http://objet.com/3d-printing-materials
Clear, opaque, ridged, rubbery, biocompatible, high temperature.

http://www.shapeways.com/materials/
Aluminum filled nylon, plastics, sterling silver, Stainless steel, Gypsum (Plaster of Paris), Ceramics (Food grade, no less!), glass.

http://production3dprinters.com/slm/spro125-direct-metal-slm-production-printer
Choose from a large range of metal alloys, including aluminum and titanium.

You can even make stuff out of corn starch or sugar...


41 posted on 10/05/2012 2:34:39 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1354 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: Hardraade

Also known as a “sling”? (Izzatyou David?)


42 posted on 10/05/2012 2:37:34 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1354 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: null and void

“Wow! You’ve actually read that?

You must be OOOOOOLD!”

I know you’re being sarcastic, but FU anyway. :>)

FYI, I didn’t buy it fresh off the press, but got it from a used book store (oh, I know, going to a bookstore = OLDDDD!). Chronologically 51, emotionally about 17 (just ask my wife).

Take care.


43 posted on 10/05/2012 2:40:57 PM PDT by Ancesthntr (Bibi to Odumbo: Its not going to happen.)
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To: marktwain
My CCW instruction LLC is Isher Enterprises.

I like it. Most won't understand the reference, but I'm sure it is always rewarding when someone does.

44 posted on 10/05/2012 2:44:32 PM PDT by Ancesthntr (Bibi to Odumbo: Its not going to happen.)
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To: Ancesthntr
I first read it when it was new.

I know you’re being sarcastic, but FU anyway. :>)

First offer of sex in way too long. *sigh* And we're both straight guys, story of my life...

*grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble*

45 posted on 10/05/2012 3:06:13 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1354 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: null and void

Yep. You basically just have to tailor the pin assemply right ;).

You probably have seen how precise you can make a potato shot with a stick, string and a nail.


46 posted on 10/05/2012 3:07:17 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: holden

http://www.yosemite-17-gigapixels.com/GlacierPointZoomify.htm

FYI, saw this on FR a week+ ago - 17gigapixel camera shot. Use the mouse and zoom in function - pretty amazing.


47 posted on 10/05/2012 3:17:30 PM PDT by 21twelve (So I [God] gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. Psalm 81:12)
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To: 21twelve

Heh. There are two hikers on Half Dome. One with a white shirt, one with a yellow shirt.


48 posted on 10/05/2012 3:48:30 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: null and void; Ancesthntr; All
Do you guys know the story of The Weapon Shops of Isher?

Alan E. Van Vogt was a Canadian born writer. The book was written shortly after the first Canadian attempt to force long gun owners into a firearms registry. The Canadians revolted (peaceably, as Canadians do) and the first long gun registry attempt was destroyed.

The Canadians are now working on finishing off the second attempt. Yes, I got a lot of questions about the name, and kept a copy of the book available to answer them. A few people understood the literary reference.

49 posted on 10/05/2012 3:54:09 PM PDT by marktwain
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To: null and void; Ancesthntr; All

Registry didn’t work before, doesn’t work now(Canada)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2877680/posts

The first comment has the Isher reference.


50 posted on 10/05/2012 3:58:17 PM PDT by marktwain
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