Why bans on 3D-printed guns are a bad idea

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

I’ve long argued that 3D-printed guns represent the death of gun control. After all, if the purpose of gun control is to keep firearms out of the hands of certain people–be that just criminals or, in time, everyone–the existence of 3d printers and the files one would use to make firearms means you’ll never accomplish that goal.


Anyone who wants a gun can get a gun and there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Which isn’t just my position, either, apparently.

From the Washington Examiner:

The Connecticut House passed sweeping new gun laws this month attempting to curb firearms-related violence. Despite the efforts of many states to curtail crime with firearms bans, 3D-printed, homemade firearms continue to exploit the shortcomings of these policies. With the increasing prevalence of homemade firearms by criminals, can we finally shift the focus from bans and legislation to empowering responsible owners in self-defense?

Gun control advocates have been center stage and energetically rallying for “assault weapons bans” this year, but their endeavors are haunted by a phantom: 3D-printed ghost guns. These unserialized and frequently homemade firearms have surged in prevalence due to readily available 3D-printing technology. Anybody with a 3D printer can bypass stringent gun control measures to craft a firearm at home. As bans and legislation have continually been out of touch with the reality of the situation, policymakers should forgo these bans and approach public safety by empowering people to defend themselves and those around them.

What good does it do to bar law-abiding citizens from purchasing these guns if any criminal with a 3D printer can just make them at home? The availability and portability of 3D printers facilitate the creation of these ghost guns virtually anywhere. This means that even the locations with the most strict gun control are prone to violators. Despite strict gun control, the Buffalo, New York, Police Department reported a huge increase in ghost guns seized from five in 2020 to 69 in 2021.


The truth of the matter is that the time when gun control might be effective is over.

Sure, people could always build their own guns. They’ve done so in this country for ages and it’s been a point in discussions about gun control for a very long time as well.

But those all require a bit of know-how that not everyone has. 3D-printed guns, however, are different. They’re printed parts that are assembled somewhat like a model airplane. The parts go together and you’ve got a firearm.

And that’s with a fully 3D-printed gun. Just printing a receiver requires less technical knowledge. Then you just assemble the pre-made parts rather easily, like reassembling a weapon after cleaning, more or less.

Trying to restrict guns is simply a lost cause at this point, even if there was a chance it would do some good.

Because of that, though, trying to empower law-abiding citizens simply makes more sense. The criminals are going to get guns and you’re not going to stop that from happening. That genie just isn’t going back in the bottle, so making sure the good guys have the means to resist is the only reasonable outcome.


If not, these bans are going to be dangerous for law-abiding citizens as criminals will continue to do as they wish and the regular guy on the street will be forced to remain powerless.

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