Handguns and dope

Why would one expect that a ban on handguns would be any more effective than the current (thoroughly ineffective) ban on pot?

[list=a][li]Handguns require much more machinery to produce than pot. Compare harvesting a crop to creating a product out of steel. Handguns cannot be grown in your backyard.[/li][li]Handguns would be much more difficult to smuggle. Consider the weight and bulk of a handgun compared to drugs. Handguns also have definite shapes, unlike pot which can be molded into blocks for easy transport.[/li][li]Again, handguns are made out of metal. This would make places with metal detectors very problematic. Whereas you are a lot more likely to be able to smuggle drugs due to the only drug-detector being the canine patrol.[/li][li]Handguns wouldn’t be nearly as profitable as drugs. This might be an arguable point, but I think I should at least include it. Drugs are something people need over and over, due to addiction. People don’t get addicted to handguns. The only thing close is ammunition. But I think even that would have a lot lower demand than a constant stream of drugs.[/li][li]Somewhat related to the first point, the raw materials for handguns would be much harder to come by than for pot. Pot is a plant. You stick it in the ground and let it grow. Not much harder than tending your flower garden. You have to procure raw materials for the metal, precision machinery for the moveable parts, etc. to produce handguns.[/list=a][/li]
Okay, that’s enough off the top of my head. Note that I’m not specifically advocating the ban of handguns. I’m just trying to fulfill your request.

Pot prohibition in fact makes pot less available, so it is certainly not totally ineffective in that regard.

Prohibition in general makes a powerful statement by a governing authority (if you’re the kind who views the govt. as an authority), and in that respect alone, makes a commodity less available to the general public. You have to want something passionately to break a law to get it. I think the majority of people will abide by the laws of their government, even if they don’t agree with them 100%.


      • 1- There are machine tools everywhere. The only machine tool for making handguns that is relatively specialized is the maching that cuts the rifling in the barrel, and in a cheap pistol, you don’t even need rifling. Some handguns cost less than $15 to manufacture, but liability costs drive up the retail prices greatly.
  • 2- Actually, smuggling drugs is easy. Ask the Coast Guard.
  • 3- I think I read that only about 5% of all intermodal containers are EVER opened and inspected at port. Again, smuggling is easy.
  • 4- If police could confiscate all guns they found, and presumably were alowed to look more than they can now, you’d have a constant demand for more handguns.
  • 5- Huh? I can buy mild steel stock down the street at the hardware store. They have no idea what I will make the stuff into. -And again, most auto shops have a drill press, and many have a milling machine. And I can buy my own drill press and milling machine if I want to. Making a sniper rifle yourself is difficult, but making a submachine gun that will spray pistol rounds is easy. There are books that have plans that require only a drill press to make.

Big Iron - Cite? I have a book somewhere that says the only time there was any significant shortage of any type of drug was in (I think) 1986, when California wildfires wiped out the crop. Law enforcement estimated that in 1985, they caught 5% of all shipments. By 1990, the figure was thought to be significantly lower than that. Just because there isn’t a shady looking guy on every streetcorner doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to get drugs in your town. I don’t advocate drug use, but if you could see the variety of people who buy rolling papers, I think you’d be real surprised.

As MC points out, it would not be difficult to make or procure a gun, and of course dealing in anything immediately becomes more profitable as soon as that something is banned. That drugs are something typically acquired over and over by a consumer of such I would think makes drug users more at risk of arrest than the handgun consumer who only has to do whatever they do to get their gun once. There are about 200 million guns in the hands of the citizenry - I don’t know how many are handguns; suffice to say millions. I really can’t imagine the government successfully getting even half of those guns turned in on a voluntary basis. Although Americans are generally law abiding, when they feel strongly about something I think they are more than willing to disregard the law.

As for pot prohibition, I am inclined to think (can’t prove it as nobody can disprove it) that the number of people in this country who want to smoke pot but don’t, out of respect for the law or due to a shortage due to enforcement action, is infinitesimaly small.


While I will not debate the validity of your statements, do you actually debate that handgun creation/smuggling would not be anywhere near as easy pot growing/smuggling?

Dope don’t get people high.
People get people high. :slight_smile:

Mexico has very strict gun importation laws.
And every now and then a tourist who doesn’t realize the law blips over the border for a quick visit and, because there’s a firearm in the trunk, the quick visit turns into several years.
I’ve often wondered how many of those arrests were for show.
During the war for power (after the leader of the Juarez cartel died July 4 last year)
most of the victims–over 100 and still counting–have been done in with the latest assult weapons.

  • You don’t have to smuggle guns into the US when you could just make them right here.
  • Guns are cheap to make. High-grade steel costs about a dollar a pound, and many gun companies use cheaper stuff where they can. What causes guns to cost so much is the legal liabilities of modern US society. Sure, gun companies like profits, but if you want a (civilian) M-16, it will cost you about $700. The military pays $98 for theirs, and theirs includes a couple technical improvements your’s won’t have.
  • Dogs can be trained to smell drugs quite easily, but gun parts don’t smell any different from any other piece of steel. Police would have to open and search everything suspect, and they don’t have time to do that. - MC

Again, you posted a lot of details, but you never really said yes or no. What will it be?

Is it easier to make homemade guns than grow homemade pot?

Is it easier to smuggle guns into the country than to smuggle pot into the country?

Just let me know your exact views on those.

      • It’s kinda difficult to directly compare the two, but here goes: making guns is easier than making pot, because,
  • gun parts can be made all over the country, all year around.
  • gun part makers would be more difficult to catch. If you work with other people doing the same thing, you don’t have to produce all the components of the gun. The police would have to locate and prove that the group was intentionally working together. (This is why you can still buy illegal silencers) If the police catch you growing pot, there’s not a lot you can argue about in court.

Good points, MC.

I’ve got to wonder, though. If homemade guns are so easy and cheap, why don’t more people do it? Supposedly, it would be a lot cheaper than buying legitimate guns.

Or do they? (never seen much research done on this)

Well, we’ve all heard of zip guns (I read recently of one using an auto radio antenna for the barrel), but I’ve got no idea how many homemade guns there might be.

As an aside, but possibly relevant to the subject of building you’re own weaponry, check this guy’s site: http://www2.csn.net/~bsimon/backyard.html

Though hardly a handgun, he’s claiming 500 fps muzzle velocity for a spud gun. Won’t rival a conventional firearm, but you could do some damage, and scoring your ammo isn’t that hard.

      • Because it’s hard to do research on weapons that don’t require any type of ID or license to buy or sell. There are gun kits which can be assembled into a (semi)automatic pistol. There are technical reasons that these kits don’t qualify as “guns”, even though all the parts are often included in one bag. You don’t need any ID to buy them, and the sellers don’t have to maintain any records of buyers. In some cases, these guns have no markings or serial numbers at all. The main design is roughly standardized (it looks like a Mac-10), making it pretty damn difficult for police to find out where any single gun came from, or how. A couple years back the typical price was ~$100-$150 each. - I don’t own one, never have. They aren’t durable or accurate, and since I can legally buy better guns I have, but if I thought I needed a gun and was faced with the choice between a cheapo Mac-10 clone or nothing it wouldn’t be difficult for me to decide. - MC

[[Big Iron - Cite? ]]
I don’t have a “cite” for that mundane onservation – it’s just basic logic. Alcohol was less available during prohibition, too.

[[I have a book somewhere that says the only time there was any significant shortage of any type of drug was in (I think) 1986, when California wildfires wiped out the crop.]]
I don’t know what you mean by a “significant shortage,” but you are kidding yourself if you think that the criminal laws don’t make illegal drugs less available. Even where the black market has plentiful supplies of a drug, many people simply have no access to that market. Very few people can just go get any kind of drug they want when they want to.

[[ Just because there isn’t a shady looking guy on every streetcorner doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to get drugs in your town.]]
But just because there’s someplace to get drugs doesn’t mean that many people can actually go there and get them.

I agree with Big Iron on this one. I know that marijuana is widely available despite being illegal; but if I decided I wanted some, I have no idea where I’d go to find it. On the other hand, tobacco is legal, and I doubt I’d have any trouble finding cigarettes.

Ok, I don’t want to come off like some drooling stoner here, but it’s obvious that those of you talking about the ease of growing marijuana and those speaking of the difficulty in obtaining it have never tried either. Growing marijuana that is any good for smoking takes a hell of a lot more work than a tomato plant. It is neither easy nor inexpensive.
I grant that if you’re not in the habit of smoking pot you probably don’t know where to get any, but it is much easier than you think. Go to a bar on a weekend night and start talking to some folks. You will probably be surprised to find out how easily anyone can obtain pot and/or a myriad of other illegal drugs.
Big Iron: It is not obvious that “alcohol was less available during prohibition”. You may not have been able to buy it at the corner market, but quite a bit was being produced and consumed. If you believe that you are right about your less consumption theory, look up some stats on alcohol consumption both pre- and during prohibition. I would be interested to know how much less, if any, alcohol was really consumed.

“I think it would be a great idea” Mohandas Ghandi’s answer when asked what he thought of Western civilization

Homemade guns? Why?
But, I did make a key once from a blank key with a hack saw and a file. I was surprised it worked.

Cost of steel and a drill press aside, how many people really know how to make a gun? Hell, if I even bought the Dummies Guide to Gun Manufacturing and some steel, I sure as hell wouldn’t trust myself to fire a gun made in my tool shed. Sounds like a good way to lose my right hand. I would also assume that making your own ammo might pose a problem, for much the same reasons. As was said before - growing pot is easy. You dump some seeds in the dirt, add water and light, maybe a little 5-25-10, and volia! You get pot. The worst that can happen is you get a dead plant. I’d say the stakes in the home made gun business are a little higher.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”