3D-Printer Manufacturer Creates Software Filter To Prevent Firearm Printing

from the the-State-Dept's-new-favorite-manufacturer dept

Although 3D printing does present the potential to wreak havoc in a variety of areas, most concern seems to be aimed at homemade guns. Ever since Defense Distributed printed up a functioning weapon, legislators have been searching for a way to shut this down.

The first reaction was perhaps the stupidest: the State Department pretty much ordered the internet to delete all gun-printing files, claiming that distribution is a violation of export control laws. Once the impossible had been requested, everyone went back to doing what they were doing, including uploading the files to The Pirate Bay. Others decided to remix existing plans, adding their own twists to Defense Distributed's model.

The next reaction wasn't much smarter. Legislators at the state and city levels in New York began pushing through bills aimed at another impossibility: banning 3D-printed guns. New York City's doomed-to-fail legislation contains a handful of unintentionally hilarious requirements.

This bill aims to make it illegal for people to produce any part of a firearm using a 3D printer unless they are licensed gunsmiths. Also, each weapon must be registered with the police within a 72-hour period of being manufactured.
OK. Let us know how that goes, especially the second part. The state's bill goes even further, but is equally unenforceable.
State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced the bill for New York State on May 30. Her legislation seeks to make it a felony for the manufacture, sale, or use of firearms and ammunition magazines made with 3D printers.
With all of this doing absolutely nothing to stop the creation of 3D-printed guns, a Danish 3D-printing firm has stepped up to do something (marginally) more effective.
[Create It REAL], which sells 3D printer component parts and software, recently announced that it has come up with a firearm component detection algorithm that will give 3D printers the option to block any gun parts. The software compares each component a user is trying to print with a database of potential firearms parts, and shuts down the modeling software if it senses the user is trying to make a gun.
This could be potentially effective in limited application, but even Create It REAL admits its software will likely be easily circumvented, as it looks for very specific "firearm characteristics." Instead, it aims to prevent people from "accidentally" printing out a gun, something aimed more at deflecting liability than actually stopping gun manufacturing.

Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed says this feature is essentially useless. No one's going to "accidentally" print a gun.
“Every gun piece is printed separately then assembled and often modified,” Wilson said. “Further, even single piece receiver prints take hours upon hours and need to be babysat. You can't 'oops' this.”
Create It REAL's anti-gun-printing safeguard isn't much more than a way to mitigate liability both for the makers of 3D printers and 3D printing companies. This add-on, no matter how easily bypassed, will probably help the company score some points in the eyes of the State Department and other watchful government entities. This built-in limitation also likely appeals much more to IP holders looking to prevent future duplication of their products.
Still, the technology has raised some alarm bells among libertarians, raising the specter of a possible future in which 3D printers are DRMed, limiting consumers to a specific set of uses determined by the seller.
It's probably still several years down the road to 3D printer ubiquity, but it's not hard to see a new strain of copyright protection being built in to future printers. If the threat of "free" duplication is deemed large enough, a push towards some sort of "universal DRM" could soon be underway. To this point, the government has shown little hesitation to use its power to protect certain industries, and this won't be any exception. If the specifics of preventing certain items from being printed proves too difficult (or too easily circumvented), the "DRM" may instead force printer owners to use only "approved" files. Whichever way it goes, efforts like this one will prove only marginally more effective than poorly thought out bans and legislation.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    Thank you for purchasing the 3D-O-Matic 3D printer.

    The printing unit comes with a safeguard to prevent unauthorized reproduction of firearms. To ensure the printer is compliant with all local and federal laws, 3D-O-Matic has provided the template and supplies you will need to activate the safeguard.

    Please remove "Template A" from the enclosed packaging, along with the carbon fiber sheet. Insert "Template A" into the printer carriage and the carbon fiber sheet into the printer slot.

    Press the Print button.

    Remove the apparatus from the printer. If properly formed, it should look like a wrench shaped like a monkey.

    Jam the "monkey wrench" into the printer's cutting mechanism. This will activate the safeguard, as well as render the printer useless, to meet local and federal guidelines. We'd like to remind purchasers the 1 year limited warranty does not cover intentional damage.

    We thank you again for using the 3D-O-Matic 3D printer. If you have any comments or technical support needs, please visit us at our website.

    Don't forget to like us on Facebook!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Rekrul, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 8:10pm

    I predicted at least a year ago that 3D printers would start to have some kind of DRM in them to restrict what you can print with them.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Pegr, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 8:32pm

    I guess everyone has failed to notice

    Does no one realize that, federally speaking, there is nothing illegal about making your own gun? Check YouTube for how to make your own shotgun with $20 worth of plumbing from Home Depot. It's so simple, a child could do it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 8:34pm

    WHO CARES!! Jesus, shut this site down already, its soooooo boring..

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 8:41pm

    New York has nothing to worry about from me I'm a level 37 gunsmith.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 8:58pm

    TTBP (Time To ByPass) filter?

    I'd guess about 2 hours, on a bad day...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 9:01pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 9:03pm

    Re:

    Apparently you do.

    Shut down your computer already, you're so boring.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 9:28pm

    It's probably still several years down the road to 3D printer ubiquity, but it's not hard to see a new strain of copyright protection being built in to future printers. If the threat of "free" duplication is deemed large enough, a push towards some sort of "universal DRM" could soon be underway. To this point, the government has shown little hesitation to use its power to protect certain industries, and this won't be any exception.
    This.

    The copyright wars are just round one in the actual war, which is against computing. My God, if users had computers that could run arbitrary code, they could do things we don't like! Can't you just make us a general-purpose computer that runs all the programs, except the ones that scare and anger us?

    Every manufacturing or distributing industry and its mother is going to jump on the protectionist bandwagon as soon as 3D printing becomes good and ubiquitous enough to threaten its particular business model. And the government will leap to their defense, and everyone will lose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 9:33pm

    Coming soon to a government near you!

    The real threat posed by unrestricted 3D printing is that, because of the low cost of the equipment, the Little People are now able fabricate their own low-cost legislators from cheap plastic, completely indistinguishable from the flesh and blood variety, and are every bit as capable of amusing the public with knee-jerk acts of grandstanding and general stupidity and self-whoredom as those of biological origins. Inability to walk and talk and chew gum while both feet are inserted in the mouth is a minor concern, but has not been a problem in actual political office in recent years, and so any shortcomings of 3D-printed models are unimportant. The furor over 3D-printed firearms is just an attempt to distract people from the actual issue.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 9:48pm

    Until you can 3D Print a cartridge who cares?

     

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  12.  
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    Jake, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 9:53pm

    finish nailer?

    What if I wanted to prototype making carpentry tools...like a brad and finish nailer? wtf? What about a hot glue gun? I see this going the way of virus detection.

     

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  13.  
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    kyle clements (profile), Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 9:54pm

    As a Canadian, a person from the land of strict gun control, I don't know if my perspective is quite the same as everyone elses here, but rather than trying to ban something outright which is completely unenforcable, why not just do something like automatically double the sentence for any crime committed by a person in posession of a gun, 3D printed or otherwise, whether or not the gun was used, to disincentivise people from using guns for evil, while not restricting the rights of those who aren't huring anybody?

    You can't stop a guy with a lathe and a milling machine from making a gun, and that's been around for decades, what's so different about 3D printers? Nothing.

    Rather than freak out and try to do the impossible, why not legislate what you can control?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 10:34pm

    Re:

    California has similar enhancement laws for felonies with a gun. Thank God, because there are no gun related incidents here because of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 10:45pm

    Bans to computer files

    If banning 3D gun models on net is possible, you won't have that many computer virus around. (Computer virus are also just a kind of file)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Beta (profile), Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 11:30pm

    Re:

    "...Why not just... automatically double the sentence for any crime committed by a person in posession of a gun..., whether or not the gun was used, to disincentivise people from using guns for evil..."

    Umm... increase sentences whether or not a gun was used, to discourage the use of guns? Well all right, sure, why not, but we get one to impose one on you: in Canada, you must double the sentence for any crime committed by a person who owns a chainsaw, whether or not the chainsaw was used, to dissuade people from using chainsaws for evil.

    Seriously, which would you rather be murdered with?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Eponymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 11:45pm

    Well...

    What's actually sneaky smart about this is that if they can't prosecute you on printing a gun using a Create It REAL printer, they can at least get you for circumventing its software under the CFAA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 12:02am

    Star Trek replicators, meet your government protected corporate match.

    RIP future, we meet again dark ages.

     

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  19.  
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    avideogameplayer, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 12:32am

    Copyright: meet the 2nd Amendment...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 2:04am

    AJ not like you're going to answer, but here's a question for you.

    You say that when people click Report on your comments, that's censorship.
    Okay...what about Youtube? Go to any random video, look at the comments section. You will invariably find comments downvoted and hidden, but still able to be seen with just the click of a button. Is Youtube censoring in that regard? It's the exact same situation as Techdirt, yet...you seem to single out Techdirt as being the villain. Why are you not on Youtube screaming about censorship there?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 2:07am

    Re: I guess everyone has failed to notice

    But this involves technology which might as well be witchcraft to the deliberately ignorant congresscritters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 2:13am

    How much do you want to bet...

    That these software filters will contain enough of "what not to do" that with a little digging it will essentially contain a ton of firearm part templates to be rescaled when matching? They would probably need to keep track of gun-structures so they won't just say "stop trying to make guns" whenever you try to make a tube.
    Reminds me of the prohibition era "grape bricks" which contained warnings saying not to dissolve it in a gallon of water, stick it in a jug, and put it in the back of a cabinet for twenty days because then it would turn into wine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    TheLoot (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 3:01am

    Re: Re:

    You misunderstand. The idea was if a gun was involved in the comission of a crime regardless if it was used or not, not just if the perpetrator owned a gun.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 3:03am

    What if I'm printing replacement triggers for my water pistol, power drill, nerf/bb/glue gun ect? If I'm not allowed to print those I'm not going to be a happy customer, if I am what's stopping me from re-purposing bits from the above?

    Also with the strong open source background of these machines won't the software just get fixed by the community anyway?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 3:46am

    Re:

    Because there's too much competition on Youtube. Here he's only got to worry if Blue can out retard him. There well he's just one small fish in a very stupid pond.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 4:34am

    3D-Printer Manufacturer Creates Software Filter To Prevent Firearm Printing

    Internet cracks DRM and prints firearms anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 4:35am

    It's inevitable that people are going to exploit the system and eliminate the restrictions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 5:10am

    Re: finish nailer?

    And what if I decide to make a weapon that looks like a jelly doughnut... is that DRM circumvention? Or, for that matter, a Jello mold in the shape of a gun? Will it report me? Is the NSA monitoring 3D printers? This has added immeasurable stress to my life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 5:14am

    Ammunition Control?

    The only thing that might work to prevent home printed guns from being a real problem is Ammunition Control. Controlling the sales of ammunition would be easier than preventing gun printing.

    Reloading would be the next bugaboo on this path.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 5:29am

    Re:

    A hot button issue plus new tech is boring? LOL WUT

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 5:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    1. there are *already* laws like this, how are they working out ? ? ?

    2. again, as a matter of principle: FREEDOM means you are free to do stupid shit, otherwise, you are not really free, are you...

    3. i think the idea is pointless, but -as the post mentioned- i'm sure this company will get LOTS of brown-nosing points among the powers that be...

    4. i am equally certain there are a *BUNCH* of ways to easily circumvent this: maybe print two pieces joined that are unrecognizable as a generic gun part, but after printing you separate them at a certain point, and you have two gun parts, etc...
    useless game of whack-a-mole to make poopy-pants *feel* like they are doing 'something'...

    like another poster pointed out: The They (tm) will NOT stop until they outlaw ANY/ALL technology that we 99% can use to oppose The State, including general computing machines...

    why they can be used to write ANYTHING you want, even *gasp* stuff critical of The State ! ! ! how dangerous can you get ! ! !

    oh, wait a minute, PENCILS AND PAPER ! ! !

    (marlon brando voice)
    the horror, the horror...
    (rubs sweat on bald head)

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    A Monkey with Attitude, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 5:41am

    Re:

    Hope they DRM all the 3-d Printers, please you ignorant congress turds, push this bill thru, make it so EVERY one must have a .

    Then it will be easy to be a rich bastard - just make a 3-d Printer, charge 1.3x the market price, and cut out the DRM,build it in China for export only (that way they dont give a shit what you do) and market that beautiful machine on the internet (good luck stopping that one), bing, bang, pow, millions - and the final beautiful irony, when customs starts getting in on trying to stop shipments, everyone stopped = another sale :)

    Enjoy your new business model furnished entirely by STUPID (Stupid laws, stupid enforcement, stupid companies not willing to work, and stupid fear and lack of understanding).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 5:43am

    Printer Manufacturer:
    it aims to prevent people from "accidentally" printing out a gun

    Lawmaker:
    State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced the bill for New York State on May 30. Her legislation seeks to make it a felony for the manufacture, sale, or use of firearms and ammunition magazines made with 3D printers.


    So what we have here is a printer manufacturer saying that it is possible to 'accidentally' manufacturer a firearm or firearm parts with their device and a lawmaker trying to make that accident a felony.

    Yup - that's our legal system at work...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    FarSide (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 5:46am

    Need to ban printing printers first...

    Somehow I doubt that anyone building a RepRap is going to give 2 shits about any sort of bans or DRM of any kind..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 5:57am

    Please also ban printing of adult toys

    If they can magically ban 3D printing of firearms, can they also ban 3D printing of adult toys that someone might use to pleasure themself? If those were to become commonly available it might be the end of civilization as we know it!

    Please also mandate a feature in the software to ban the printing of sharp objects if the person printing it is intending to use it to commit a crime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Beta (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I did not misunderstand. He made a used-even-if-not-used suggestion which is nonsense on its face, and you blurred his language into the almost meaningless term "involved", in order to hide the absurdity.

    If you want a simpler illustration (albeit less colorful), try this: "Automatically double the sentence for any crime committed by a person in posession [sic] of shoelaces, whether or not the shoelaces were used, to disincentivise people from using shoelaces for evil."

    Now is it clear that the proposed law doesn't make much sense? That murder by shooting with a gun isn't intrinsically twice as bad as murder by some other means such as garrotting with a shoelace or evisceration with a chainsaw? That something legal and harmless should not act as a magic crime-doubler?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Beta (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 7:11am

    Re: Need to ban printing printers first...

    Oh, RepRap will be Terrorism, plain and simple, since it can be used to build Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    ...The funny thing is, RepRap enthusiasts will actually boast that it can.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 7:28am

    You know, when it was suggested we ban stupidity starting with controlling breeding, people cried out that it was horrible and wrong and restricted their freedom. So, instead in an attempt to feel safer, they give up way more freedoms in fear of stupid people. There was just no way this was going to end well if people refuse to be responsibility for themselves like an adult (ie they take responsibility for their own safety and not blame a third party for not enabling them to ignore their responsibility.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    angelbar (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 8:35am

    Re: Ammunition Control?

    Control by price!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZrFVtmRXrw

    So funny...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 9:21am

    Re:

    I do. Shut the fuck up, already. Just because you don't care, doesn't mean that we should care that you don't. It's like calling the newspaper up and telling them not to print entertainment news or anything about the English royal baby.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    Dogbreath, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    arkiel (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 9:48am

    Any law against 3D printed guns should be cabined to weapons that would not set off a metal detector by themselves. I still have a Second Amendment right to be able to defend myself. I think requiring a piece of metal be present in my weapon is a lot more reasonable than outlawing an entire class of objects just because of the way they are manufactured.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    jmark315, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    We should also double the sentence on elementary school boys who dare to chew their Pop Tart into the shape of the letter "L".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Re:

    Jealous people are jealous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem with this, like there is only one, is that almost everything you do with a gun is a crime. Seriously, there are so many gun laws on the books that honest gun owners, which are most of them, can hardly do anything with a gun or take it anywhere, even a target range, without violating a law of some sort. Criminals are criminals because they don't care about laws, society, people, etc. The death penalty, long sentences, 3 time loser laws, etc. hasn't deterred them. So putting further restrictions on honest citizens only creates criminals out of good people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 11:28am

    Re: Ammunition Control?

    This would have little affect on crime. Criminals would gladly spend a few bucks on ammo (or steal it). The mass shooters especially won't care if a round costs $0.50 or $50, they don't expect to survive to worry about money. So again, controls like this only affect honest citizens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
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    TheLoot (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. Want to know why? Shoelaces and chainsaws (contrary to popular belief, they make terrible murder weapons) are tools that have purposes other than bodily harm that they excel at. A gun is a tool with one true purpose: bodily harm and/or death.

    A gun is twice as easy to kill with, and twice as likely to give someone the confidence to use it for such purpose. So yes, a crime involving a gun SHOULD be punished more than one not involving one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Beta (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Rather than address my points, you introduce three new ones. And if I refute them, you'll jump to others-- and circle back to reassert these later.

    No, I will not play gun control Whac-a-Mole with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    Re:

    Because weapons charges are the first to be plea bargained.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re:

    ...in Canada.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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