I’ve talked a lot over the last couple of years about how fascinated I am with 3D printing as a technology. The idea that you can create an item pretty much out of nothing but plastic string amazes me to no end.
It wasn’t the least bit surprising when someone quickly started to use this technology to make guns. Gun folks are like that. If we can use it to make a gun, we will, and 3D printing was never likely to be an exception.
However, some are upset by this revelation. They argue that 3D printing completely renders gun control efforts null and void, as if that’s an argument for, well…anything.
3D-printed guns are dangerous because they circumvent existing policies. They are considered “ghost guns,” a term used to describe firearms that do not have an identifying serial number that can be used to match gun purchases to their owner. By law, legal firearms sold in a gun store or by a manufacturer must have a serial number. Printed guns and their parts do not.
All firearms must contain enough metal in the weapon to be able to set off a metal detector. With a 3D-printed firearm, the person printing the weapon must add that metal themselves and there is no way to ensure they have done so. In a licensed gun store, background checks are required to see if the user should be allowed to own a rifle. But with 3D-printed guns, no background checks are done and anyone can buy the blueprints and use a 3D printer to create the weapon.
Yes, that’s kind of been my point. That’s why Cody Wilson worked so hard to develop a viable 3D printed firearm. The very point was to make gun control less than useless. After all, gun control has only ever applied to the law-abiding citizen anyway.
To argue that 3D-printed guns are dangerous is stupid, but only because all firearms are dangerous. That’s their point, after all.
Now, though, private citizens can build guns until the cows come home simply because they can. They don’t have to ask permission of a government to do so.
The moment those files hit the internet, the potential effectiveness of gun control dropped to zero. It was never particularly high, but now it made it less than useless.
For years, it was possible to build a submachine gun in your backyard. The problem was that particular design required metalworking skills not everyone had. Now, 3D printing has put firearm manufacturing within the skillset of almost everyone. It’s inexpensive and relatively easy to fabricate and assemble a firearm.
And just what laws do you think you can push that would stop it? Right now, all the focus is on Defense Distributed’s ability to post the files, but those files are already out there on the internet in various places. People have them and can share them freely. I’ve got them on my hard drive right now, though I don’t really care about building any of these weapons.
Look, gun control is over. It’s dead. It’s nothing more than a scheme to make life annoying for the law-abiding citizen. The criminals were never disarmed and, honestly, never would have been even without this technological breakthrough. Now, private citizens have the ability to make sure they can be armed no matter what the government plans to do.
It’s time the governments of this great land recognize that and start trying to find some other way to address violent crime since their typical whipping boy isn’t there for them anymore.