The question arises of legality. Is it legal to
build your own firearm?
To make your own gunpowder? My original intent
when compiling this book was to gather up the pertinent laws
on the topic and present them for the reader’s benefit.
A bit of legal research reveals that it’s not that simple. It also
reveals that what the average taxpayer thinks about his right to
bear arms is not at all what the legal profession thinks.
The following is an excerpt from American Jurisprudence an
encyclopedia of law written by lawyers for lawyers. It is a
standard reference book.
Volume 79, American Jurisprudence 2nd Edition, Weapons
and Firearms, Section 4: No absolute right to keep and bear
arms was recognized by common law.
Furthermore, the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States in
declaring that the right of the people to keep and bear arms
shall not be infringed means no more than that this right shall
not be infringed by Congress, and the guaranty of this
Amendment is not carried over into the Fourteenth
Amendment so as to be applicable to the states.
The right to bear arms does not apply to private citizens as an individual
right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
Accordingly, it is generally recognized that state or municipal
regulation of weapons does not per se offend the right to bear
arms guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
Furthermore, the registration provisions of the National
Firearms Act cannot be considered an infringement of the
federal constitutional guaranty of the right to keep and hear
The Fourteenth Amendment, referred to in this passage, had
to do with giving freed slaves full citizenship status after the
Civil War. It says, in part, No State shall make or enforce any
law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens
of the United States.
American Jurisprudence is not casually written. The flow of
ideas from sentence to sentence and from paragraph to
paragraph makes sense, but every sentence is footnoted and
represents a synopsis of a significant court case. Even phrases
within sentences are footnoted. No freestanding sentences are
thrown in to make the connection from one idea to the next.
Although every sentence in American Jurisprudence is
footnoted, I am citing below just one (marked with an asterisk
in the above quotation):
The Second Amendment was not adopted with the
individual’s rights in mind, but as a protection for the states in
the maintenance of their militia organization against possible
encroachments by the federal power.
I must admit, it jarred me to find the above quotes. I’m
probably more provincial than I care to believe. As a boy, I
attended a one room schoolhouse and was steeped in rural
American values. Later in life, researching the family tree, 1
found seven ancestors who fought as patriots in the American
Revolution. They probably thought they were fighting to
guarantee me some basic human rights. They must be spinning
in their graves.
There are three problems in my reciting for you the legalities
of making your own firearms. First, the same laws are
interpreted differently by different people. (Note the above
discussion on the Second Amendment.)