The surprising history of homemade weapons.
The recent assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe sent shockwaves through Japan and surprised people worldwide. Japan has tight gun control laws that forbid anyone from owning a gun under limited and highly regulated circumstances. The weapon was one of the most astonishing pieces of information surrounding the shooting. According to journalists following the story, the weapon used in the assassination was a DIY gun made from items easily found in hardware stores. Does this mark a new page in the history of firearms? How does this change opinions on gun control? Are DIY guns as widespread as we think?
The homemade gun has been around for a very long time. People have been making homemade guns for centuries when you consider the invention of gunpowder and its use to fire a projectile to inflict harm or damage. As the technology progressed and the ability to manufacture stable metals which could be worked expanded, a new trade was born. The gunsmith of the early 1200s China developed what would be determined as the first firearms. From there, firearms evolved and spread to Europe and later America. However, the idea of making a gun is not as simple as one might think. Through the years, gun technology has changed as man has understood how to improve ammunition’s accuracy, distance, and velocity. Understanding rifling, developed in 1498 by August Kotter, and metallurgy are necessary to produce a functioning weapon. Yet, people have found ways to create rudimentary guns when they could not get their hands on one. In the mid-20th century, Zip guns were made by people employing steel tubes and springs. They were effective in the ability to inflict injury at very close range. Such weapons hit the headlines in places like New York City in the 1950s. Fast forward to modern times with 3D printing and 80% Kits, homemade firearms have become the topic of great debate in the United States. And Ghost Guns are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home. The “buy, build, shoot” weapon has seen a ten-fold increase since 2016, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Statistics show about 20,000 guns seized during crimes are reported as ghost…