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Opinion – ‘Block19’ proves we need gun reform

US gun company Culper Precision has created a pistol that looks like it’s made out of LEGO. Unsurprisingly, it has caused outrage and upset.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the giant article headline image above. Looks a whole lot like something from a six-year-old’s toy box, right?

Despite the colourful and somewhat playful appearance of the new ‘Block19’, it is in fact a very real firearm that was – until recently – available to purchase from US gun manufacture Culper Precision’s website.

While there are currently laws in the US to prevent toy manufacturers from creating products resembling real weaponry, there is no such law to stop companies producing real guns that look like toys.

Gun control campaigners have described the ‘Block19’ as ‘irresponsible and dangerous’. It’s worth noting that accidents involving both firearms and children are on the rise in the US, with over 140 people killed last year as a result of incorrect use of weapons.

The gun is no longer available to buy and LEGO has reportedly sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter demanding a halt to the production of the ‘Block19’.

The fact this thing exists at all is concerning in itself, however, and once again calls into question current US gun laws and ease of access to high-grade weapons.

This has been a huge issue for many years and the conversation around gun laws has been making headlines since Obama was in office six years ago.

Many call for more routine and thorough universal gun checks and school shootings continue to occur on a near monthly basis. Almost 40,000 Americans die each year from gun violence.


What has been the response from Culper Precision?

As a UK citizen, it’s quite alienating trying to understand why anybody thought this was a good idea to produce in the first place, aside from the inevitable publicity.

Culper Precision claims that it was created to ‘show new firearms owners that guns are not just for law enforcement or military’. Its statement concludes by stating that it hopes to make the second amendment ‘too painful to tread on’.

Questionable puns aside, it’s likely Culper Precision created this weapon with controversy in mind.

The logo is so close to LEGO’s that there’s no way the company expected to get away with producing this long-term. It also seems to be fairly aggressively against any kind of gun reform or open conversation about the ongoing US weapon problem – New York declared an emergency to tackle increasing levels of gun violence just this week.

For now, the only real positive is that you can’t actually buy it anymore, though that won’t stop another independent manufacturer creating their own gimmicky Glock in order to cause a stir. What’s next, a sniper rifle made from plasticine?


What is the current situation with US gun reform?  

There has been some hopeful movements in Biden’s presidency toward gun control, especially considering how strongly opposed the Trump administration was to any change whatsoever.

Biden has called on Congress to pass ‘common sense gun reform’, which would see a banning of assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and introduce universal background checks. The biggest issue is getting US government and statesmen to co-operate with one another – which has proven extremely difficult over the years.

Many US citizens are uncompromisingly pro-gun and regard any changes as a liberal takeover. Real, grown ass congressmen tweet things like this at Joe Biden for all to see, and any universally agreed changes are likely to forever exist as fantasy.

America’s National Rifle Association (NRA) also proves to be a highly influential and stubborn political force that misleadingly equates gun ownership with patriotic values. Its response to gun violence is usually always ‘more guns’.

Trump himself once supported giving teachers weapons to fight back against school shooters. Who doesn’t love a maths lesson from a professor pointing a pistol at you, eh?

It’s clear we’ve a long way to go until things change in any meaningful way. Ironically though, Culper Precision’s bizarre publicity stunt may actually have the opposite of its intended effect, drawing more attention to the need for stricter laws and rigorous profiling of potential gun owners.

Nothing says freedom quite like a LEGO toy gun that’s not actually a toy and could instead kill people. I’m sure that’s what the founding fathers had in mind when they gave the right to bare arms all those years ago.

 

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