Everytown's Epic Fail On 3D Printing Rule

(Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

3D printing is probably the most exciting technology I’ve encountered in my entire life. I mean, I grew up in the age of the space shuttle, so space flight, while cool in so many ways, has been around so long that it’s not particularly thrilling to think about. But 3D printing is new. Plus, the potential is there for this technology to change the face of manufacturing forever.

Not to mention, you can build guns with the printers. That’s pretty awesome.

Files for building guns have been out there for a while. I happen to have a number of them myself, despite not currently owning a device with which to use them.

However, the existence of these files is an issue for the folks over at Everytown.

From one of their press releases:

Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statement today calling on the Biden-Harris administration to take action in the coming weeks to prevent a Trump administration rule from taking effect that would allow plans for downloadable, untraceable guns to be posted online. During his campaign, President Joe Biden pledged to do exactly that, saying that his administration would “ensure that the authority for firearms exports stays with the State Department, and if needed, reverse a proposed rule by President Trump. This will ensure the State Department continues to block the code used to 3D print firearms from being made available on the Internet.”

The Trump administration’s rule –– which would shift the oversight of downloadable guns from the State Department to the Department of Commerce, thus allowing anti-government extremists to post untraceable gun plans online –– will take effect as soon as May 18th due to a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling overturned an injunction that has prevented the Trump administration rule from taking effect, which was granted last year in a lawsuit filed by 23 attorneys general in Washington state against the Trump administration’s Department of Justice.

If extremist companies are allowed to post downloadable gun plans online, it would be difficult to ever undo the damage and fully remove them from the internet. Fortunately, the Biden-Harris administration can act now to right the Trump administration’s wrong and prevent these plans for untraceable, deadly weapons from becoming widely available online.

“If allowed to take effect, the 9th Circuit’s ruling would give extremists free reign to flood the internet with downloadable guns that are untraceable and undetectable,” said Jonas Oransky, Everytown’s legal director. “The Biden-Harris administration can and should reverse the Trump administration’s rules that made this dangerous situation possible, but the clock is ticking. If these plans become publicly available, there will be no second chance to get this right.”

Oh, they’re just so adorable when they’re terrified and wrong about 3d printing of firearms, all at the same time.

See, a simple Google search today brought up plenty of places from which to download these files. It’s not overly difficult. Because of that, though, even if every word they said was absolutely and completely true, it’s already too late.

The genie is out of the bottle and any hope of gun control actually controlling guns is well past officially dead. The files are everywhere and people have them. Even if the rule is reinstated, the truth is that it won’t matter. Peer-to-peer sharing of these files will be easy enough and impossible to prevent.

In fact, the reason the State Department blocked the posting of the files had nothing to do with domestic gun control policy but viewed them as exporting arms technology to other countries, including some we don’t keep on our Christmas card list. That was it.

The State Department doesn’t care about whether Americans are sharing these files with one another or not. That’s outside of their purview. Nore do they care if people are 3D printing guns. What they care about is whether we’re sharing them with non-Americans.

Millions upon millions of people already have these files. Millions more will obtain them soon enough.

Everytown really needs to give up this fight. Even if they win, it won’t accomplish anything.