[hackerspaces] Firearms in Hackerspaces?

Pete Prodoehl raster at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 21:50:40 CET 2013

I specifically used the word "firearms" because "weapons" can cover many 
things, especially in a makerspace.

Many businesses/organizations have signs at their entrance stating that 
"guns" (or occasionally "weapons") are not allowed. Some 
businesses/organizations do this because they feel it will protect 
themselves, or their customers, etc. and I was wondering how this sort 
of thing affected hacker/makerspaces, which are unique, and might even 
contain all the tools needed to manufacture firearms or other weapons 
quite easily.


On 1/14/13 2:33 PM, Nathaniel Bezanson wrote:
> tl;dr version: To my knowledge, we've had three weapons-related 
> incidents, but only one was actually a gun in the legal sense. Each 
> got the individual a stern talking-to, but that's mostly been it. We 
> have no policy prohibiting any sort of weapon, because if you hold it 
> right, every single thing in the space is one.
> The first incident was the repeated discharge of a Gauss gun without 
> adequate regard for safety. In addition to the private discussion, 
> there was a general reminder to all members, that the old rule "know 
> your target AND what is beyond it" applies here too, and please make 
> sure everyone in the space has plenty of notice, opportunity to take 
> shelter, and opportunity to object, before any testing of energy 
> weapons. The individual is no longer a member, because of a 
> safety-related but not weapon-related incident some time later. (Our 
> only ban!)
> The second was the rupture of a poorly-constructed PVC pressure vessel 
> (an oxymoron already), which was on its way to being a t-shirt cannon. 
> The individual behind it was asked to get second-opinions on his 
> "engineering" before assembling anything else containing substantial 
> potential energy. (In retrospect, it's sort of surprising that none of 
> his previous robots managed to fail spectacularly, but you can't 
> really ban springs. Or giant rubber bands. Or giant clumps of small 
> rubber bands. Or torsion bars. Or...)
> The third involved a member with a permit to legally carry a concealed 
> firearm. He failed to lock it up before consuming alcohol, which is 
> against the law. After consulting with numerous other members who 
> carry concealed and follow the law when they do so, the individual was 
> pulled aside for a private conversation, and the availability of 
> lockers was reiterated.
> Safety-wise, the table-saw has hurt more people than every other 
> dangerous thing in the space, ever, combined. And we're not banning 
> saws, because they're useful!
> -Nate-
> Pete Prodoehl wrote:
>     Here's a quick question for US-based hacker/makerspaces...
>     Do you have a firearms ban at your space, and if so, what are some of
>     the reasons behind the decision?
>     thanks!
>     Pete
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