The end of gun control?
I ran across an article in Forbes by Mark Gibbs, a proponent of stricter gun control, in which he thinks, given a certain technology, that gun control in reality may be dead.
That technology? 3D printers. They’ve come a long way and, some of them are able to work in metals. That, apparently led to an experiment:
So, can you print a gun? Yep, you can and that’s exactly what somebody with the alias “HaveBlue” did.
The receiver is, in effect, the framework of a gun and holds the barrel and all of the other parts in place. It’s also the part of the gun that is technically, according to US law, the actual gun and carries the serial number.
When the weapon was assembled with the printed receiver HaveBlue reported he fired 200 rounds and it operated perfectly.
Whether or not this actually happened really isn’t the point. At some point there is no doubt it will. There are all sorts of other things to consider when building a gun receiver (none of which Gibbs goes into), etc., but on a meta level what Gibbs is describing is much like what happened to the news industry when self-publishing (i.e. the birth of the new media) along with the internet became a realities. The monopoly control of the flow of news enjoyed by the traditional media exploded into nothingness. It has never been able to regain that control, and, in fact, has seen it slip even more.
Do 3D printers present the same sort of evolution as well as a threat to government control? Given the obvious possibility, can government exert the same sort of control among the population that it can on gun manufacturers? And these 3D printers work in ceramic too. Certainly ceramic pistols aren’t unheard of. Obviously these printers are going to continue to get better, bigger and work with more materials.
That brings us to Gibb’s inevitable conclusion:
What’s particularly worrisome is that the capability to print metal and ceramic parts will appear in low end printers in the next few years making it feasible to print an entire gun and that will be when gun control becomes a totally different problem.
So what are government’s choices, given its desire to control the manufacture and possession of certain weapons?
Well, given the way it has been going for years, I’d say it isn’t about to give up control. So?
Will there be legislation designed to limit freedom of printing? The old NRA bumper sticker “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” will have to be changed to “If guns are outlawed, outlaws will have 3D printers.”
Something to think about. I think we know the answer, but certainly an intriguing thought piece. Registered printers? Black market printers? “Illegal printers” smuggled in to make cheap guns?
The possibilities boggle the mind. But I pretty much agree with Gibbs – given the evolution of this technology, gun control, for all practical purposes, would appear to be dying and on the way to dying.