One of the things I do when I’m not writing here at Bearing Arms is reading and writing science fiction and fantasy stories (new book out today, BTW). That means considering new technologies and the impact they may have on the future.

To me, one of the most fascinating is the 3D printer.

Whereas you once needed special skills to fabricate something out of nothing but raw materials, the 3D printer lets you use a file to create something in the privacy of your own home. I don’t care who you are, that’s pretty bada**.

Unsurprisingly, someone immediately turned their attention to using this technology to make guns. Makes sense, right? After all, if the government becomes tyrannical and bans guns somehow, the good people of this country will still need at least some access to arms to take their country back, right?

Also, unsurprisingly, lawmakers want to ban using the new technology to make guns.

The Rhode Island Senate on Wednesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Coyne to outlaw 3-D printed guns, ghost guns and other untraceable or undetectable firearms in Rhode Island.

“Ghost guns, 3-D printed guns and undetectable plastic guns are designed especially for criminal activity. They are meant to dodge the legal safeguards that protect public safety. Our state laws should be very clear that possessing, creating or selling them is a criminal act, and we should be doing everything we can to keep these dangerous weapons from proliferating here,” said Coyne, of District, 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence. “I’m very grateful that the Senate has expedited this common-sense legislation, which addresses a loophole that has developed via new technology while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

The legislation, a version of which was also approved by the Senate last year, would make it unlawful in Rhode Island for any person to manufacture, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, possess, or have under his or her control any gun that is made from plastic, fiberglass or through a 3-D printing process; or a ghost gun, one that lacks a serial number under the requirements of the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968; or one that would be undetectable by a metal detector after removal of all parts other than a major component, or whose major component would not generate an accurate image if subjected to the type of screening equipment used at airports and public buildings.

As noted above, this legislation also inhibits law-abiding citizens who enjoy building their own firearms from unregistered receivers.

What’s not noted above is that there’s not a hope in hell that this bill will interfere with criminals making guns if they want to, either with a 3D printer or with a less than 80 percent receiver. That’s because criminals, by definition, don’t obey the law. They’ll ignore this one like they ignore all the other laws.

As per usual, lawmakers seek to ignore the real problem–criminals–and instead want to impose restrictions on the very people they don’t need to worry about.

You can give a law-abiding citizen a rocket launcher and he won’t hurt a living soul with it, but a violent criminal will use a rock or his bare hands to hurt another if that’s all they can get.

The problem isn’t the guns, but the people. How about trying to start there?