The first gun I ever owned was a silver six-shooter made out of hard plastic which I carried around wherever I went. I was six years old so I could more or less carry my gun just about anywhere except the first grade. A couple of years later I graduated to another plastic gun which shot ammunition we used to call ‘caps,’ but I abandoned this toy when I was 12 years old and bought my first real gun.
From then until now, if you wanted to own a gun which shot real ammunition, some of the parts, particularly the barrel, had to be made out of steel. Until the 1980’s all the other parts of a gun were also made out of steel or some metal alloy except for the gun stock which, if the gun was a rifle or shotgun, might be made out of wood.
Thanks to a guy in Austria named Gaston Glock, we began substituting polymer for metal in the non-moving parts of the gun, particularly the frame. Polymer is actually a plastic material reinforced with metallic compounds which makes the finished product more resistant to wear and tear, and in the case of a gun also reduces the overall weight. Most handguns sold in the United States today are put together with a polymer frame; when Glock first started shipping his gun to the US, it was referred to as a ‘plastic’ gun.
Now for the first time we have the appearance of a gun which is almost totally made out of plastic, engineered and developed by a young entrepreneur out of Texas, Cody Wilson, who has become something of an iconic personality in the community which believes that personal freedom and self-made guns are one and the same thing. Wilson owns a company, Defense Distributed, which made a plastic pistol and got into a spat with the U.S. Government by releasing instructions on the internet for how to take a 3D printer and use it to make a plastic gun.
Wilson promotes himself as an innovator but he’s much more than that. What he’s really doing is finding a clever marketing niche for a segment of the gun-owning population that really believes in the idea that an individual’s freedom can only be secured at the point of a gun. Here’s the mission statement on Cody’s site: “The specific purposes for which this corporation is organized are: To defend the human and civil right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court; to collaboratively produce, publish, and distribute to the public information and knowledge related to the digital manufacture of arms.” Notice which statement comes first.
Wilson announced the development of a plastic AR-15 right around the time that Adam Lanza took a real AR-15 into Sandy Hook Elementary School and began blasting away. In a recent interview on NPR’s Planet Money he admitted that the Newtown massacre gave his company a significant boost, and while he mumbled something about the mass shooting in terms of the loss of life, he was much more positive about the need to develop self-manufacturing gun technologies in order to forestall the ability of the government to infringe on personal freedom by banning civilian-owned guns.
As the Planet Money interviewer discovered, give Wilson five minutes to shoot his mouth off and what you’ll get is the standard, neo-libertarian, neo-anarchist mishmash comprised of equal parts of Ayn Rand, Friedrich Hayek and maybe now Steve Bannon, all of which adds up to nothing more than childish, nonsensical crap. The same people who want to believe that a gun will protect you from government tyranny (particularly when the government is run by a Black liberal) are the same people who buy gold bars from the Glenn Beck show to protect themselves from the oncoming financial collapse.
Frankly, Cody Wilson and his crypto-anarchist friends are the least of our problems when it comes to dealing with the violence caused by guns.