A Utah manufacturer of custom firearms will no longer convert Glock handguns with an adorable kit to make the very real guns look like they're made out of Lego blocks, following a cease and desist letter from the real Danish toy manufacturer. Culper Precision had been selling the conversion, which it called the "BLOCK19" (GET IT?) for about two weeks before getting the nastygram from Lego's lawyers.

I don't usually find myself cheering for the heavy hand of intellectual property law, but you take your heroes where you find them.

Culper Precision sure thought the lethal weapon that looked like a toy was something special, as the Washington Post reports:

"We have been building guns out of blocks for the last 30 years and wanted to flip the script to aggravate Mom," Provo-based Culper Precision explained on its website. [...]

"There is a satisfaction that can ONLY be found in the shooting sports and this is just one small way to break the rhetoric from Anti-Gun folks and draw attention to the fact that the shooting sports are SUPER FUN!" the site proclaimed, exuding a bravado that would prove to be short-lived. "Here's the thing. Guns are fun. Shooting is fun. 30 rounds full auto is fun."

Hey, you know who else thinks guns are fun? Little kids, who have an unfortunate habit of finding them, even when Daddy has hidden them in the top dresser drawer. Children kill or injure themselves or others with firearms on a disturbingly regular basis, and as gun sales spiked and people stayed home during the coronavirus crisis, so did shooting deaths caused by kids.

On the other hand, the cheerful yellow gun that you could attach real Lego blocks to was a lot of fun, and pissed off liberals, so those surely are points in its favor.


We bet Culper Precision probably ate its heart out over a federal court decision yesterday, which determined that the federal law prohibiting handgun sales to anyone under the age of 21 is unconstitutional. Adding 18- to 20-year-olds to the customer base might have helped boost sales of the BLOCK19, which had already been praised by some commenters on a gun blog as a "10/10 meme gun." Ah well. The government can ask the full appeals court to reconsider the case. And Culper will just have to hope the younger adult set will be drawn to its other offerings, like a super-cool sci-fi looking Glock modification called the "Atomic 6."

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, just didn't see the fun in the Lego gun, because it was designed to aggravate Mom.

Also, federal consumer law prohibits making toy guns that look too realistic, but there's no law against guns looking like toys, because Second Amendment. Can't spell Founders without fun!

The real highlight of the WaPo piece, though, is the wit and wisdom shared by Culper Precision's president, Brandon Scott:

Scott maintains that the design was all about exposing people to the fun of shooting, an aspect of firearms that, he said, the media and gun control activists often overlook because they're too narrowly focused on the tens of thousands of people who are killed by them.

It really is just a matter of what you choose to focus on, now isn't it?

Scott told the Post that he had indeed given thought to the possibility that kids might be attracted to a real gun that looks like a toy, but since all responsible gun owners keeps their firearms locked up, he went ahead with the kit.

The Post, no fun at all, went and pointed out that

As of 2015, as many as 4.6 million children lived in homes with at least one loaded, unlocked firearm, a number that has probably gone up during the country's gun-buying spree over the past 16 months.

But really, that's not Scott's problem, as we see in this Socratic dialogue:

If the child of one of his customers finds a Lego-modified gun and shoots himself with it, Scott said that would be the customer's fault, not his.

And what should happen to that customer?

"So, um, let's see. I know that in some places that there are laws in place for negligence like that," Scott said. But he added that he does not believe an adult who allows a child access to a gun that looks like a toy — resulting in the child's death — should be held criminally liable.

The reason, Scott said, is because he doesn't want the government regulating "common sense."

"You know, the pain and anguish caused by losing a child would be a pretty intense scenario," he said, suggesting that would be punishment enough.

Given that common sense might argue against selling brightly colored guns that look like kids' toys, we aren't too sure we agree with Scott on his logic work there.

And if it was a neighbor's child who was shot to death instead?

"The neighbor can obviously sue," he said.

As you can see, he's thought this whole thing through. And there's no chance the manufacturer of a gun that looks like a toy could be sued, since Congress protected the industry from liability suits in 2005. It's literally impossible for Culper Precision to be negligent in selling its murder toy.

And here we thought that no actual human being could sound quite this much like the amoral Dan Aykroyd character Irwin Mainway, who peddled unsafe children's toys like the all-black "Johnny Invisible Pedestrian" Halloween costume or the fun "Bag O' Glass" construction set. Ooh, hey, maybe Scott could make a Glock 19 out of shards of glass!

Scott also said he thinks guns have an unfair reputation because, he said, lots of other sports are "in my opinion, a lot more dangerous than firearms [...] and frankly, you know, kill more people on a yearly basis."

Like maybe motorcycling, he said, although the Post spoiled everything by pointing out "guns killed at least eight times as many people in 2020 as the number that die in motorcycle crashes during an average year."

Well yeah, but how about if all those motorcyclists had tuberculosis and rode standing up, on fire, inside schools?

Unfortunately, while he was being interviewed by the Post Monday, Scott received an email with the cease and desist letter, even though he had carefully not used the name "Lego" on his website at all.

To avoid legal action, he decided to stop selling his fun conversation starter about how safe and fun guns are.

"They had a similar reaction to you," he told a reporter, "where it was like: 'Is it wise to make a gun look like a toy?'"

Well that sucks for him. Guess Culper Precision will have to move on to another great idea, like selling C-4 plastic explosives in bright primary colors, in little cans that look like Play-Doh but with a jokey name.

[WaPo / CNN]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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