Quote of the day—Clayton Cramer

The ability to create something like full-automatic fire using a bump stock and a semi-automatic rifle means that all semi-automatic makers have to worry that some enterprising plaintiff’s attorney might try to create a new theory of liability that could create liability for lawfully producing a constitutionally-protected product. Would you make and sell semi-automatic rifles, even a .22, with this threat hanging over you? If production of a legally compliant semi-automatic AR-15 can create liability, what about your Ruger 10/22? If this type of manipulation of judicial system can prevail, is any semi-automatic firearm safe?

Clayton Cramer
May 11, 2020
A New Lawsuit Shows Some are After All of Your Semi-Automatic Rifles
[Good point.—Joe]

15 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Clayton Cramer

  1. The way to get around this, unfortunately, means tossing the bump stock under the bus. Characterize it as an induced malfunction caused by unsupported equipment.

    If I try to juice up my car and it explodes on me, can my parents sue Ford?

    • They can try.

      They hopefully won’t succeed. But a good friend of mine, who is a very good motorcycle mechanic, has served as an expert witness on multiple occasions re modifications to somebody’s motorcycle. Kid crashes, family sues everyone they can think of. Depending on the judge it might get fairly far.

      If it ever gets to a jury trial, it’s a problem because facts are left at the door and the plaintiff lawyers play on sympathy for grieving parents. Who cares if the kid forgot to torque down the (new, warranty-voiding) rims and the (wrong and far too short) aftermarket brake lines bound up the steering. The big bad company can afford to ease the family’s sorrows. Et cetera.

      • I’m not even going to pretend it was a GOOD idea on my part, just the one that springs most easily to mind.

        The gun grabbers have been pissed about the PLCA ever since it got passed and neatly blocked them off from one of their best tactics (barrages of lawsuits).

    • This is why automakers and motorcycle manufacturers hire hordes of the best lawyers. In more than 40 years I’ve testified on exactly one case where a plaintiff won.
      I’m not sure how the gun rights community should respond to these lawsuits. Not all gun manufacturers have access to this level of legal defense. Perhaps a legal defense fund shared between manufacturers would work.

    • Not if there’s a sticker on it saying not to do that.

      Or some language in the owner’s manual voiding the warranty if you do it. Or language in the purchase agreement. Or maybe a few other ways.

      • What if the use of reloads voids the warranty? Most of the time reloading is safe, but every now and then something goes wrong. I can see the anti-liberty gang make reloading something that has to be insured and licensed under a new FFL category.

        • Insurance mandates are a popular trick for banning something without outright admitting to it.
          Skydivers know this; a number of airport authorities have attempted to ban skydiving from their airports by imposing an insurance requirement — presumably knowing full well that the insurance in question does not actually exist.
          Come to think of it, didn’t NY try to mandate gun owners having liability insurance, while at the same time suing the NRA for offering something resembling that insurance?

  2. The article leads me to believe that there is some misinformation being presented. Quote of a quote: “Design of this sporter is such that parts required for fully-automatic fire cannot be installed”

    And quote: As for “readily converted,” some courts have correctly applied this to mean at least eight hours by a gunsmith in a well-equipped machine shop.

    The conversion of a semi-auto lower receiver to a full-auto lower receiver is about 10 to 20 minutes in the shop or 5 minutes, depending on the lower. If the lower does not have a full shelf, then the shelf has to be milled out. Put the lower in your milling vise. Use some brass or soft jaws to protect the finish on your lower. Put the right size end mill in place, position the cutter, make one cut and the shelf is there.

    It isn’t even a critical cut. I’m not even sure you would have to actually find locations, I think you can do it with just two touch offs.

    Then you have to drill one hole. Again, put the lower in the vise, spend a few minutes to make sure it is trammed and level. About 2 minutes. Locate the pivot pin hole. Move to the correct location. Drill one hole. OR buy a drill guide jig. Put the jig in place. Drill your hole from both sides with a hand drill.

    In other words, if you have an AR15 lower with a shelf already in it, it takes a jig and 2 minutes with a hand drill to make the mods to the lower to make it full auto.

    Once that is done, the full auto parts drop right in.

    So, to make an AR15 go full auto:
    1) Verify that you have a lower with the shelf already milled (most ar15 lowers)
    2) Drill one hole in the right place
    3) Put in a full auto BCG (most ar-15s are using full auto BCG)
    4) Replace hammer
    5) Replace trigger
    6) Replace disconnector
    7) Replace selector
    8) Install auto-sear

    In the bad old days of the federal awb, having an AR15 lower with any of the 6 magic parts was a “go to jail event”. The six magic parts were: auto_sear, full auto trigger, full auto disconnector, full auto hammer, full auto BCG, full auto selector.

    The exceptions were things like the Colt SP-1 which had all the magic parts except for the auto-sear, because “magic”.

    • I’ve spent enough time in shops using lathes, mills, and other metal working tools that “eight hours” means something entirely different to me than what I imagine it did to the people that arrived at that number.

      What I imagine that number means is that the bureaucrats and anti-gun people (I mostly repeat myself) realized they had to come up with some sort of criteria and eventually decided a full day of work for one person was “good enough”. The people who had received a passing grade in metal shop rolled their eyes and kept them mouths shut so as to not make things worse.

    • “Readily converted” is highly vague, imprecise language. It can be abused in either direction. Some people know how, have the tools, and are good at using them. Others…not so much. It isn’t necessarily a question of intelligence, either–more a question of knowledge & aptitude. Shop class has never been in my bag of tricks & probably never will be (not entirely for lack of trying, either). “On paper” is more my speed.

  3. It wouldn’t take 8 hours in a well equipped machine shop to make dozen full autos. Remember, semi-auto trigger systems are more complicated than open bolt full-autos. And this argument is more suited to the ammo manufacturers. Ammo is obviously made to kill. No mod’s necessary.
    Once again we have empirical proof that brainwashed morons are dangerous. And that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. But it happens. As my brother us to say. Somethings in life squeak. And all you can do is grease it!

    • MTHead,
      Same thing I said here or elsewhere not so long ago. It is much more difficult to create the disconnector system than to just a simple sear holding back an open bolt.

      Having just watched the video on how the full auto components work in the M-16 platform, I’m impressed with the timing. The BCG has to move enough into battery so that the bolt is rotating BEFORE the auto-sear trips. Then the BCG must continue forward and finish locking the bolt before the hammer strikes.

      There might be enough mass in the bolt to push it a little further, but you are talking about really small parts of a second.

      You want to figure out how long it takes for the hammer to move forward after it leaves the auto sear, then figure out how far the BCG travels in that time, then make sure the trip surface of the BCG trips the auto sear after that point in time.

      Just “wow”.

      I figure with a jig in place to hold AR-15 lowers in place, a good manual shop could mill a shelf into a lower in at a rate of around 30-45 per hour. Drilling the hole is likely around 90-120 per hour, depending on cooling flow and pulling chips and the number of drill bits you break.

      Slap this thing into a four/five axis CNC mill in a proper jig, gang them up four at a time and turn out 120-180 per hour.

      The more I learn about manufacturing firearms the more impress I am with the original designers of almost all firearms. Today I’m looking at the AR-15 trigger group and drop in trigger group and saying “Well that makes the hard part easy.”

      Unless they get to the point where they are serializing spring wire, this is Pandora’s box is well and truly opened.

      • Pandora’s box is well and truly open. And has been for quite some time. Think M3 greasegun. The AR platform is wonderful. But for full-auto. Its very complicated. As Uzi/Mac/open bolt designs are so much easier to build.
        Its all school yard bullshit anyway. Them trying to think up a reason fight. Because they can’t admit to themselves that their wrong.
        Like Joe said. Telling them the truth would only make things worse. Their real surprise happens when enough people realize they have been made a criminal anyway. And start thing BFYTW.

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