On 3D-printed guns, you can't stop the signal

On 3D-printed guns, you can't stop the signal
(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

I’ve written before that one of my all-time favorite shows is the short-lived science fiction series Firefly. For fans of the show, we got some vindication when we got the movie Serenity.


In that movie, there’s a character called Mr. Universe. He would say, “You can’t stop the signal.”

3d-printed guns prove that to be true.

I’ve long said the 3d printer marks the death of any hopes for gun control, but many ignore that. Well, in Australia, it seems there’s evidence that I was right.

Now, of course, these are illegal in Australia. That didn’t stop anyone, apparently.

Why would it, though?

If you’re inclined to break the law, breaking one more is generally a pretty trivial thing. Sure, there may be limits to how far you’ll go–a burglar who would hurt people, for example, or a con artist who is selective with their marks–but if you’re someone who will potentially shoot someone, a weapons charge isn’t a deterrent.

Gun control is premised on keeping guns out of these people’s hands in the first place, and if everyone got guns at a gun store, it might actually work.


The problem is that they never have.

Now, though, they don’t even need stolen guns to arm themselves. The technology has moved on, and while many decry it, I see it as a wonderful thing.

With easily available technology, pretty much anyone can build the means to resist tyranny. They can build guns like those above and put them to use fighting against a government that would oppress the people and seek to ultimately enslave them.

The days of being desperate for outside support by freedom fighters are numbered. Now, instead of trying to get crates of guns to them, supporters can focus on ammunition to feed the guns they can build themselves.

Sure, these particular designs may be limited, but they’re far beyond the Liberator that first showed a gun could be printed almost entirely.

Yet for now, this means that 3d-printed guns will be with us in every civilized corner of the planet. Gun control cannot stop it. It cannot keep 3d-printed guns out of people’s hands.

So now maybe people interested in curbing violence will come to terms with the fact that restricting access to guns cannot work. It never could, of course, but now it’s really a lost cause.


Instead of gun control, maybe it’s time to look at how we can guide people away from a violent lifestyle and into a more productive model for their lives. Rather than shooting their rivals, they can just outwork them and show them up that way.

Regardless, 3d-printers mean that gun control is dead, even if gun controllers refuse to get the memo.

Australia has a model for gun control many think we should emulate. What we see above is that even in a place that had less crime from the get-go, bad people will still figure out how to get the tools to do bad things. It’s time to look elsewhere to curb violent crime.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member